by Drury Athletics
The Drury Panthers won for the fifth time in their last six outings Saturday turning back the Miners of Missouri S&T 90-81 at the O’Reilly Family Event Center in their Great Lakes Valley Conference opener.
The Panthers (5-4, 1-0) grabbed control of the game midway through the first half putting together a 26-9 scoring run to break away with just over 10 minutes before halftime to lead 43-26 and held a 50-39 advantage at the break. Drury hit on 8 of 13 three-point attempts in the half while shooting 63 percent from the field (19 for 30).
“We’ve done well in the first half a lot, but we did allow them to come back and that’s where you have to dig in,” said Steve Hesser, Drury head coach. “And when shots don’t go in for you, you’ve got to play with more energy, and I think we did that.”
The Miners (2-4, 0-1) outscored the Panthers early in the second half to cut the lead to 5 points, but Drury then outscored the visitors 27-12 to grab a 20 point lead with just over eight minutes to play at 77-57. The clubs traded points down the stretch before Drury settled for the nine-point margin of victory.
Sophomore Conley Garrison paced the Drury scoring with a game-high 22 points. Seniors Allen Billinger and Andrew Ballock added 15 and 14 respectively. CJ Hedgepeth paced five Miners in double-figures with a team-high 21 points.
“Conley is almost night-and-day different from last year,” said Hesser. “He’s really taken that sophomore jump, and here we are only nine games into the season, so I couldn’t be more proud of him at this point.”
Drury hit on 11 of 22 three-point attempts and overall was 34 of 60 from the field for 57 percent. They also won the battle of the boards, out-rebounding the Miners 34-26 with senior John Williams pulling down nine.
The Panthers are back in action on Friday, December 7th when they host Central Christian (Kan.) in a 7 p.m. contest at the O’Reilly Family Event Center to conclude their current and pre-Christmas homestand.