Victory on the road produces change in Hawks' demeanor

Posted: Jan. 18, 2013 3:38 am Updated: Feb. 1, 2013 7:15 am

Herald-Whig Sports Writer

ROLLA, Mo. -- For Marty Bell, it didn't matter that the Quincy University men's basketball team's 62-57 win Thursday came at the Bullman Multi-Purpose Building against Missouri S&T, one of two winless teams in the Great Lakes Valley Conference.

Heck, the opponent probably could've been a Missouri YMCA squad and Bell wouldn't have minded as long as the Hawks earned the victory.

"I didn't care who we were playing," said Bell, QU's coach. "It didn't matter to me."

The Hawks simply needed to beat someone to end their four-game losing streak and pick up their first road win of the season after dropping their first three games away from Pepsi Arena. QU did that behind 19 points from junior guard Chris Babbitt and by limiting Missouri S&T to 34.8 percent shooting after halftime.

"You could feel the down spirit (during the losing streak)," QU sophomore guard Jordan Wilson said. "Now you walk in (to the locker room), and it feels like we're 10-0. We know we have a lot of work to do, but the win felt good."

Wilson helped seal the win with a pair of free throws that put QU (7-7, 2-4 GLVC) ahead 61-57 with 20 seconds remaining.

The Hawks shot 46.5 percent from the field and 36.8 percent from 3-point range -- a solid improvement from their shooting clips of 39 percent from the field and 20 percent from beyond the arc in a 78-70 loss to Southern Indiana on Saturday.

Babbitt went 8 of 14 from the field en route to his 10th straight double-digit scoring game, and Wilson did his part by making three 3-pointers and supplying a season-high 13 points.

"After (the loss to Southern Indiana), Coach said we needed to get a lot of shooting in," Wilson said. "So I took that (to heart), and I just went in, got in the gym a lot and shot. And my teammates, they found me a lot of times today. They were good looks, and I just knocked them down. I just played ball and stopped thinking."

QU won despite playing without starting center Jens Kennedy, who tweaked his knee in practice this week.

Tyler Thompson scored 11 points for Quincy, and Grant Meyer, who was recovering from the flu, added 10 points as the Hawks put at least four players in double figures for the fifth time this season. QU is 5-0 in those games.

Both teams' thrived offensively in the first half, with each shooting better than 54 percent from the field and making at least half of its 3-point attempts. The Hawks took a 34-33 lead into halftime.

"We just had good focus at the beginning," Babbitt said. "Everybody was finding each other in spots to score, and we were just knocking them down."

As QU's offense faded in the second half, its defense improved.

The Miners (4-9, 0-6) missed four field goals and committed five turnovers during a stretch midway through the second half, and QU went on a 10-0 run to open up a 53-43 lead with 6:11 remaining.

In three of Quincy's losses during its losing streak, the Hawks' opponent pulled away with a second-half run.

"It was kind of nice to get into some flow and some rhythm," said Bell, whose team plays at Drury (10-4, 4-2) on Saturday. "We have that capability. We just haven't (been doing it), and that's why we've been sputtering. You have to make runs like that in a game to have success. I think finally we snapped out of it and got some easy baskets."

Missouri S&T, which was led in scoring by Mudi Eruteya's 14 points, trimmed its deficit down to 59-55 with 51 seconds remaining on two free throws from Nusrath Kahn.

Thompson had a chance to give QU a six-point lead with 38 seconds remaining, but he missed a dunk, and the Miners cut their deficit to two on Zach Ellis' layup with 27 seconds left.

Wilson's two free throws and a free throw from Thompson closed out Quincy's first win since Dec. 30.

"It's a real confidence boost for us," Babbitt said. "We just have to keep it up."





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