Hadzimahovic's early bombs help Wildcats beat Trojans and improve to 8-2

Culver-Stockton College’s Alen Hadzimahovic, center, catches the ball and looks to make a move toward the basket while Hannibal-LaGrange’s Willie Burd, left, and Alistair McCann, right, give chase and the Trojans’ Abraham Arinyakono, front, waits to defen
Posted: Dec. 7, 2012 12:58 am Updated: Dec. 28, 2012 3:15 am

Herald-Whig Sports Writer

CANTON, Mo. -- James Johnson didn't figure it wise to put a firm number on the shooting range of Culver-Stockton College teammate Alen Hadzimahovic.

"I don't think he has a range," Johnson said.

Hadzimahovic thought that might be a little generous.

"Maybe 35 feet," Hadzimahovic said. "If I'm wide open, there's really no hesitation."

Hadzimahovic spotted up from all over the court throughout the first half of C-SC's 73-66 win over Hannibal-LaGrange University on Thursday at Charles Field House. He drained 5 of 6 3-pointers before halftime. Two of his treys came from several feet beyond the 3-point arc and elicited plenty of "oohs" and "ahs" from C-SC's sizable student section.

"My teammates were driving and kicking the ball out, and I was wide open," said Hadzimahovic, who cooled off in the second half and finished with 15 points. "It was just good passes. That's it."

C-SC (8-2) drained 13 of 33 3-point attempts overall. Austin Keaton, who scored 15 points, was also hot in the first half, hitting three 3-pointers.

Johnson carried the scoring load in the second half. He was 4 of 6 from beyond the arc after halftime.

"That's what helps us win these games," Hadzimahovic said. "Not everybody has to stay hot both halves. It's always good to have somebody to take over in the second half if you end up going cold."

CJ Adams led C-SC with 12 rebounds and tied for a game high with six assists, and Johnson supplied a team-high 21 points.

"I just had to get in my mode," said Johnson, who had six points at halftime. "I didn't come out as aggressive as I should have, but second half, I tried to take the court and change that a little bit."

C-SC trailed for only 52 seconds, as the Wildcats started on a 37-18 run that was capped by Hadzimahovic's long three from the right wing.

HLGU coach Jason Durst said his team's lack of execution on the offensive end played a hand in the Wildcats' fast start.

"I'd like to think if we score some easy buckets early -- we missed a couple bunnies -- I think we could set our defense and don't give up some of those easy looks," said Durst, whose team fell to 2-8. "It kind of just snowballed a little bit for us there in that first 10 minutes."

Arii Meuel did his best to try to match C-SC shot for shot. The Trojans junior guard was 6 of 7 from 3-point range and scored a game-high 28 points to go along with eight rebounds.

Abraham Arinyakono added 25 points and 10 rebounds for the Trojans. Meuel and Arinyakono combined to score HLGU's last 18 points. Meuel scored HLGU's final 12 points himself.

"We expect that from them," Durst said. "Tonight they played big, and I think that's a credit to their teammates giving them opportunities to score and putting them in position to score. They're both good players and both did a good job for us. If we can continue to keep them rolling and have some guys come along with them, it's really going to make a difference for us."

Although the Trojans remained within striking distance, the outcome never really seemed in doubt. Johnson helped seal the deal with an alley-oop dunk off of a feed from Marshawn Norris.

With eight wins, C-SC already has doubled its win total from last season. Two of its wins now have come by seven points over HLGU, which has five single-digit losses.

"You have to win sort of ugly sometimes, and we did," C-SC coach Jack Schrader said. "Defense was all right. Offense was all right. It was just good enough."




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