From Staff reports
ST. JOSEPH, Mo. — Bryton Hobbs scored a career-high 32 points in Northeastern State's 73-61 victory over Missouri Western on Saturday afternoon. However, Hobbs' performance didn't get a total satisfaction from NSU coach Larry Gipson.
“His game today reminded me of Jekyll and Hyde. He was really good offensively and good, at times, against the zone, but he had eight turnovers and got a little too careless at times," Gipson said. "He has to tighten it up. We’re playing him a lot of minutes, and I think fatigue sets in."
Hobbs finished 10-for-17 from the field, 4-for-7 from distance and 8-for-9 from the free-throw line, while adding nine rebounds and three assists in 40 minutes.
The 32-point performance was the most by a RiverHawk since Dominique Gaines dropped 37 at Incarnate Word on Dec. 4, 2010.
NSU also received a 15-point, 13-rebound performance from Jermaine Bransford, and senior guard Jon Miller added 14 points off the bench. NSU reserve, John Schneider, also contributed eight points and six rebounds in 16 minutes of action.
“Those two guys give us a tremendous lift off the bench,” Gipson said of Miller and Schneider. “Both of those guys have been up and down, and they’re used to playing big minutes. They’ve had their minutes reduced this year for a variety of reasons, but they didn’t pout and they’re attitudes have been good. They gave us a big lift on this entire trip.”
Northeastern State shot 50 percent (25-for-50) from the field and 88 percent (15-for-17) at the charity stripe. The Griffons (8-12, 4-8 MIAA) shot 42 percent from the field (24-for-58) and were just 4 of 6 (67 percent) at the free-throw line.
The home side built an 18-10 lead over the course of the first 6:33, but the RiverHawks flipped the script and led 31-23 at intermission after outscoring Missouri Western State 21-5 in the last 12:59.
“We tightened up our defense,” Gipson said. “They had 17 points in the first six minutes of the game, but they finished the first half with only 23. I thought from that point on we guarded them really well.”
NSU came out of the locker room on fire, making its first six shots and powering ahead 48-33. The visitors led by as many as 20 points (62-42 at the 7:38 mark) in the second half and never allowed the Griffons to get within single digits.
Northeastern State outrebounded Missouri Western State 39-24. Cedric Clinkscales led MWSU with 13 points, and Dzenan Mrkaljevic added 12.
NSU (women) 73, Mo. Western 56
Six different RiverHawks (14-6, 9-3 MIAA) finished with at least nine points, led by 19 from senior guard Taylor Lewis. Lewis shot 7-for-8 from the field, 3-for-3 from downtown and made both free-throw attempts.
Senior forward Sarah Green scored a season-high 16 points on 7-of-9 shooting. She also pulled down eight rebounds. Junior guard Taylor Collins and sophomore guard Fontana Tate both added 10 points.
The Griffons (13-7, 6-6 MIAA) were led by Brittany Griswold, who finished with 22 points. Cassey Sobaski added 10 points. Heather Howard entered the game as the team’s leading scorer at 14.0 points per game, but she was held to just four.
Both teams struggled out of the gate, and a Griswold layup at 10:06 tied the contest at 11-11. Tate made a layup at 9:53 that sparked a 7-0 run for NSU, but Missouri Western State quickly notched proceedings at 23-23.
MWSU took a 29-25 edge, but NSU scored the last five points of the first half to lead 30-29 at intermission.
A Griswold trey at 16:34 brought the Griffons to within one at 35-34, but the visitors wore down the home team late and took complete control of the contest over the final 15:24.
“The mentality of our team pulled us through today. Our kids were determined. We played a team that really pressures hard and is really physical,” NSU coach Randy Gipson said. “You have to be really aggressive and strong with the ball the whole game. We came out and did that.”
From that point on, NSU outscored MWSU by 16 points, 38-22. The RiverHawks began finding holes in the full-court press and getting easy layups, while also knocking down multiple shots from outside. All six members of the team that scored in the game picked up points in the last push as the exhausted Griffons were unable to hold on.
Northeastern State shot 53 percent (28-for-53) from the field and 33 percent (6-for-18) from distance. Missouri Western State was held to 33-percent shooting (22-for-66) from the field and 29 percent (7-for-24) from downtown.
NSU outscored MWSU 43-27 in the second half, and the 43 points tied for most scored by the RiverHawks in a second half this season.
Northeastern State will return home for a 5:30 p.m. tip on Thursday against Lindenwood.