By John Miller (For OzarksSportsZone.com)
Springfield, Mo. – Clayton Hubbard was in the right place at the right time.
With the game tied 60-60, the Stockton senior rebounded a missed jump shot and was fouled on the put-back with 2.9 seconds left. Hubbard made both free throws, lifting the Tigers past seventh-seed Greenwood 62-60 in the opening round of the Blue and Gold Tournament on Wednesday night.
Hubbard finished with 30 points and seven rebounds for the Tigers. Greenwood got 23 points, 11 rebounds, and a pair of blocked shots from sophomore standout Aminu Mohammed. Tommy Pinegar added 21 points on 6-for-15 from 3-point range.
“We played hard and knew what we wanted to do,” Tigers coach Derald Henderson said. “We held Aminu to 23. It doesn’t sound like much, but he averages 36.5 points a game.”
Stockton played zone all game, pinching inside on Muhammed. It left them susceptible to the outside shot, but that was a risk Henderson was willing to take. Greenwood shot 38 percent from 3-point range (9-for-24).
“They made some shots,” Henderson said. “You’re going to give up a lot of shots. That zone holds the middle down and makes it harder for someone to score a lot of points. (Aminu) probably would’ve had more of that in man-to-man.”
Stockton trailed 34-29 at half and trailed by as many as eight points before making a second-half charge. After missing all five shots he attempted in the first half, Stockton’s Drew Wheeler made 5-of-8 shots after halftime, finishing with 12 points.
“Drew and Clayton have been our guys all year,” Henderson said. “Everybody did some stuff, but they obviously hold us down and give us a chance every night. They’re good leaders and good players.”
Stockton shot 49 percent for the game (22-for-45) and Greenwood shot 46 percent (23-for-50). The Tigers won the rebounding battle 26-24.
Stockton will now face two-seed Ozark at 8 p.m. Thursday at JQH Arena. Greenwood draws Buffalo at 8 p.m. in Hammons Student Center in the consolation bracket.
“We’re wanting to get to Saturday,” Henderson said. “Good teams play on Saturday in this tournament.”
Stockton 62, Greenwood 60
Stockton 20 9 18 15 62
Greenwood 19 15 12 14 60
Stockton: Hubbard 30, Wheeler 12, Greenlee 8, Silas Kenney 5, Gannon Kenney 5, Broksieck 2
Greenwood: Mohammed 23, Pinegar 21, Harper 9, Litherland 4, Sharp 3