SPRINGFIELD, Mo.— The Drury Panthers road the stellar shooting of junior guard Conley Garrison to a second consecutive come-from-behind win on Saturday afternoon as they turned back the Prairie Stars of Illinois-Springfield 86-78 at the O’Reilly Family Event Center.
Garrison scored a career-high 38 points in helping the Panthers complete a sweep of their four-game homestand. The Bolivar, Missouri native hit on 13 of 21 shots from the field and was a perfect seven of seven from the free throw line in posting his career-best scoring effort.
“We had a visit with Conley this week and told him he hadn’t been as aggressive as I wanted him to be and that while we penciled him in for eighteen to twenty points every night, on several occasions, he needed to get to that thirty-point mark,” said Drury head coach Steve Hesser. “Then, in a late time out today, I pulled him aside told him that this was one of those nights.”
After leading 2-0 to open the game, the Panthers did not lead again until 7:28 remained to play, grabbing a 62-61 edge. Four lead changes followed with Drury moving back in front for good with just under three minutes remaining. Clutch free throw shooting sealed the outcome and moved the
Panthers to 15-7 overall and now 8-6 in Great Lakes Valley Conference play.
“Springfield is more of a three-ball team and Thursday night (at Southwest Baptist) they got 16 of them, and we “D” up, and they only got 15 tonight,” joked Hesser. “But that’s kind of college basketball now, and you’ve gotta make two efforts, you gotta get in and cover and get out and cover.”
The Prairie Stars were up 12 points midway through the first half at 33-21 and held a lead of 40-36 at the break.
In addition to Garrison’s performance, the Panthers got 14 points from senior Lane Duncan, also his career-high, and 12 from junior Cal Hartley.
Jesus Castillo led the scoring for the Prairie Stars (12-10, 5-9) with 19 points, hitting on 6 of 9 from three-point range.
Drury finished 29 of 61 for 48 percent shooting, with the Prairie Stars hitting on 24 of 56 for 43 percent. The Panthers outrebounded the visitors 37-32.
The Panthers continue GLVC play on Thursday, February 13th, when they travel to Rockhurst for a 7:30 pm meeting in Kansas City, Missouri.