By BLAKE TOPPMEYER
Herald-Whig Sports Writer
ST. LOUIS -- The Quincy University men's basketball team couldn't have asked for five better scoring opportunities.
Even so, the Hawks couldn't get a shot to fall.
During a 38-second span midway through the second half of QU's 69-55 Great Lakes Valley Conference loss Thursday against Missouri-St. Louis at the Mark Twain Building, the Hawks (8-10, 3-7) had five open looks at the basket.
Scott Hahn missed a 3-pointer. QU offensive rebound.
Chris Babbitt missed a shot a jumper. QU offensive rebound.
Nate Des Jardins missed a 3-pointer. QU offensive rebound.
Babbitt missed a layup. UMSL rebound.
UMSL turned the ball over in the backcourt. Jens Kennedy missed a jumper.
That span summed up the night for the Hawks, who had numerous open looks throughout the game but shot only 38.5 percent from the field, including 3 of 12 from 3-point range.
"It was just one of them nights where shots weren't falling," Babbitt said. "We had good looks. We just have to step up with confidence and knock them down."
UMSL coach Steve Tappmeyer wasn't willing to chalk it up as splendid defensive effort by his Tritons (12-6, 5-5).
"I thought they broke us down quite a few times and just missed open shots," Tappmeyer said. "Defensively, we did some (good) things, but sometimes you look out there, ... and it was just a kickout and an open three or an open shot and they just didn't hit it."
Thursday marked the fifth time this season QU shot worse than 40 percent. That, coupled with 19 turnovers that led to 27 UMSL points, kept the Hawks from ever truly threatening.
"We had good possessions and missed shots," QU coach Marty Bell said. "How do you fault your execution? You're getting shots you want, and they're not going down."
Babbitt scored a game-high 18 points and was the only Hawk in double figures. He added six rebounds. Dalton Hoover supplied nine points and a team-high seven rebounds off of QU's bench. Aareon Smith led UMSL with 15 points.
The Hawks' four starters other than Babbitt combined for 15 points and 5-of-19 shooting.
Babbitt scored 14 points in the paint, with the other four coming from the free-throw line. All but two of his points came in the first half.
"Getting layups, that got me in the zone," said Babbitt, who reached double figures in scoring for the 13th time in the last 14 games. "They were really into me (in the second half). Coming off screens, they were bumping me a lot and just staying into me."
The Hawks had one real shot to make a move. They cut their deficit to 35-33 with a 6-0 run capped by Kennedy's jumper with 18:49 remaining in the second half.
UMSL responded with a 14-2 run, and its lead never dipped below nine points after that. QU committed seven turnovers during that run, leading to 12 points for the Tritons.
"We had pretty good energy defensively (during that run) and got some deflections and got some turnovers," Tappmeyer said. "When we got them, we turned them into quick buckets."
Bell said he had two main priorities for Thursday: protecting the ball and rebounding.
The Hawks came through on one of two. QU outrebounded UMSL 30-25, including 11-4 on the offensive glass.
Hoover led QU with five offensive rebounds, which directly led to six second-chance points for the Hawks.
"Coach has been telling me to keep getting offensive rebounds," Hoover said. "They need rebounds out of me. That's what I'm out there to do partially. I just try to get myself in position."
The Hawks are in a position in which they could really use a win in Saturday's game against Maryville (17-5, 7-3) at Pepsi Arena as they continue to battle for one of the 12 spots in the GLVC Tournament.
QU will aim to do a better job of converting opportunities against the Saints, who have won six of their last seven.
"(Shooting) is something we can definitely fix," Babbitt said.