By THE HERALD-WHIG
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Quincy University men's basketball coach Marty Bell often says his team needs to split its two-game Great Lakes Valley Conference road trips.
Yet, if there was ever a week in which the Hawks needed a road sweep, this week was it, and QU achieved that Saturday with a 64-45 win at Rockurst.
"This really just gives us more confidence, and I think confidence is the biggest thing for us," QU senior forward Tyler Thompson said.
Before this road swing, QU had won only two of 10 games in 2013.
Quincy (10-11, 5-8) won back-to-back games for the first time since beating Ohio Valley on Dec. 19 and Robert Morris-Springfield. Quincy moved into sole possession of fifth place in the GLVC West, one game behind William Jewell, which beat Illinois-Springfield 69-63. QU is one game ahead of UIS. The top five teams in the West are guaranteed a berth in the 12-team GLVC Tournament.
QU snapped a five-game road losing streak to Rockhurst, claiming its first win at Mason-Halpin Field House since winning 70-66 in overtime there on Dec. 10, 2005.
Thompson led Quincy with 14 points and eight rebounds, and Chris Babbitt added 13 points and five boards.
Quincy put itself in a comfortable position early. Grant Meyer made 3-pointers on QU's first two possessions, and that kickstarted a 28-10 opening run. Quincy's lead never dipped below 15 points after that.
"That's the way good teams play," Bell told ESPN 1440. "That's what we've been working so hard to get to. We're still not there yet, but we certainly made a good step this week with two good wins on the road. Now we've got three (straight) at home. That's really a good way to go into that final homestand, with some confidence."
Meyer drained three treys during the opening run and finished with nine points. Scott Hahn also made a pair of 3-pointers during that early stretch and later made another triple to tally nine points.
Conversely, QU put the clamps on Rockhurst's 3-point shooting. RU made 12 of 19 3-point attempts in its 72-70 win over QU on Jan. 24 at Pepsi Arena but made only 4 of 15 3-point attempts this time around. Rockhurst shot 31 percent from the field overall and committed 15 turnovers.
"Our effort spoke volumes, and we got it done on the defensive end," Thompson said. "We've been longing to say that for a long time, and I think really our defense predicated our offense and got us going."
Defense fueled QU throughout the road trip, which included a 56-55 win Thursday at William Jewell. In the two games combined, Quincy limited its opponents to 34.9 percent shooting.
"If this is an indicator in the last two games that we're starting to try to figure that (defense) out, then we'll have a chance the rest of the way out," Bell said.
Rockhurst cut QU's lead to 54-39 on a pair of free throws from David Wingerson with 5 minutes, 58 seconds remaining. Wingerson and Brandon McCann led Rockhurst with 11 points apiece. QU responded with a 6-0 run to build its lead to 21 points and essentially put the game away.