KANSAS CITY, Mo. — All the energy that fueled the Quincy University men’s basketball team’s second-half surge Thursday night was spent by Saturday afternoon.
The Hawks couldn’t replenish it.
A 20-point first half in which Quincy shot 23.1 percent from the field and made just 2 of 12 3-pointers left it facing a 16-point deficit. Although that was whittled to five points in the first four minutes of the second half, Quincy didn’t sustain the rally and lost 68-62 to Rockhurst in Great Lakes Valley Conference play at Mason-Halpin Field House.
Three rushed possessions, featuring a pair of missed 3-pointers by Adam Moore and Charles Callier, stalled Quincy’s comeback, and Rockhurst pushed its advantage back to 13 points in less than two minutes.
“When you get that deficit to five on the road, every possession matters,” QU coach Ryan Hellenthal said. “We just got loose a little and quit doing what we were doing. We never really got it back from there.”
Still, it was the sizable first-half deficit that doomed Quincy.
Rockhurst opened the game by hitting four straight 3-pointers and going on a 16-2 run. Quincy didn’t score its first field goal until Jamaurie Coakley’s runner in the lane six minutes into the game, didn’t reach double figures until 9:28 remained and ended up trailing 34-10.
“We were playing at a very, very poor speed early in the game, on offense and on defense, and it cost us,” Hellenthal said. “When you move like that in this league, you get beat.”
Quincy (6-14) never played with a sense of urgency until the second half when freshman guard Paul Zilinskas scored at the rim on the first possession and followed it with back-to-back 3-pointers. He scored 10 points in Quincy’s 15-4 run to open the half.
Zilinskas finished with a career-high 22 points, going 6 of 8 from the field and 3 of 4 from 3-point range. The rest of the team went 3 of 21 from 3-point range as Quincy shot 35.7 percent from the field and 24 percent from 3-point range.
Callier, Moore and Jack Youmans, who were a combined 19 of 36 from the field in Thursday’s victory at William Jewell, went a combined 3 of 26 from the field Saturday.
“It’s a make or miss game,” Hellenthal said. “Unfortunately, Rockhurst made and we missed a lot.”
Still, there was a little glimpse of what the future holds heading into the final week of this season.
“Zilinskas gave us a great effort and (sophomore forward) Mick Sullivan played positive minutes,” said Hellenthal, who also got 17 points and seven rebounds from junior guard Silas Crisler. “Just really happy with Zilinskas. He’s come a long way in a short time. He’s a freshman and he’ll still be a freshman next year.
“The thing about him today was he didn’t seem rattled at all. He’s a true freshman playing in a physical game. I think that’s certainly something to grow from as well.”