Glover, Carroll power Western men to late win in finale; Griffon women fight vs. No. 14 UNK

Brandon Zenner, St. Joseph News-Press, Mo.
·4 min read

Feb. 28—A regular season of adversity provided one final test to the Missouri Western men on Saturday.

Junior Tyrell Carroll scored 21 points and sophomore Reese Glover made four of his six 3-pointers in the final four minutes to complete a 15-point comeback against Nebraska-Kearney, delivering the Griffons a 74-72 win at MWSU Fieldhouse.

The win, coupled with a Missouri Southern loss, meant a third-place finish in the MIAA with a 13-9 record. After losing seven straight, the Griffons ended the season by winning five of six.

"Just my teammates trusting me, getting me the ball and finding me even though I've been in a slump the last few games," Glover said. "They trust me, that's why I keep shooting and why they were going in. The confidence they give is everything."

Carroll, who scored in double digits in 20 of 21 games, finished with 21 points, seven assists and seven rebounds, helping Western outrebound UNK by nine in the second half without leading rebound Will Eames. The sophomore forward suffered a knee injury Tuesday and is expected to miss some time.

"I didn't feel like we had a bad first half, but we weren't playing as hard as we could've," Carroll said. "Just coming out and playing harder the second half the first four minutes, throwing the first punch."

The Griffons fell behind 14-7 in the opening minute only to claw back within 20-19 on a Caleb Bennett 3-pointer. The Lafayette grad finished with 12 points.

UNK then went on a 14-0 run to go up by 15 with 3:38 until the half. An Alex John dunk and back-to-back 3-pointers by Glover helped cut the deficit to eight at halftime.

UNK's lead was at 12 with 12 minutes to play before an 11-2 run fueled by Carroll trimmed the Lopers' lead to one basket.

Western finally took the lead after a John dunk and Glover 3-pointer, his third in two minutes of game time, for a 70-68 lead with 2:05 left.

Following jumpers on consecutive possessions from Myles Arnold, Carroll brought the deficit to one with a made free throw.

Western then came up with a defensive stop, and Q Mays' running layup was missed, only to be tipped out to Glover. He found nothing but net with 26 seconds left for the game-winning basket.

Glover finished with 18 points on 6-of-13 shooting from deep with six rebounds. He led the MIAA with 68 made 3-pointers this year.

John finished with season-highs with 12 points in 29 minutes, adding three steals and six rebounds. Mays finished with seven points, six rebounds and five assists.

"There's no way to manufacture what these kids have gone through other than the actual experiences," Western coach Will Martin said. "It's unreal what these kids have gone through."

The Griffons honored seniors Tony Chukwuemeke, Sam Siganos and Jonathan Mesmacque for Senior Day, though they will get one more home game.

Western advances to play sixth-seeded Lincoln in the MIAA Tournament on Wednesday at MWSU Fieldhouse.

No. 14 Nebraska-Kearney women 66, Missouri Western 62

The Missouri Western women never let the No. 14 team in the nation out of their sights, coming up just short in a 66-62 loss to Nebraska-Kearney.

Western finished the season 6-15, though its best basketball game in the final month. The Griffons went 3-6 in their final nine, though each loss came to an MIAA tournament team by single digits. Five losses were to teams in the top five in the MIAA.

"I don't think our record reflects how good this team is because we were not very good early," second-year coach Candi Whitaker said. "We have such a better vision and understanding of who we have on our team."

Mychaell Gray, who scored in double figures in four of the last five games, scored 14 points and seven rebounds. Brionna Budgetts added 14 points of her own.

Corbyn Cunningham added eight points and five rebounds in 15 minutes off the bench.

UNK (19-3) made 10 of 22 3-point attempts while Western finished 4-for-20, and the Lopers made 6 of 7 field-goal attempts to end the game.

The Griffons honored three seniors in Miranda Stephens, Kyra Hogan and Simone Rodney, a Central alum, all of whom transferred in last year.

"I wish we could've turned the light bulb on a little bit earlier, but I'm still super thankful for this season," Rodney said. "I'm excited for the group as they grow and mature in the coming years."

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Brandon Zenner can be reached at brandon.zenner@newspressnow.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NPNowZenner.