Alex Hall scored 30 points and Drury's defense came up with one of the great lengthy lockdowns in the program's history in throttling Southwest Baptist 73-44 Tuesday night in the second annual Bank of Bolivar Highway 13 Catfight at the O'Reilly Family Event Center.
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Drury improved to 2-0 on the season and snapped a two-game losing streak to the Bearcats, who now trail the Panthers 33-18 in the all-time series. The home team has won the last six meetings.
And this one was dominated by a DU shutdown of the Bearcats in the second half of epic proportions.
Drury trailed 37-36 with 17 minutes to go, and put together a mini-run over the next six minutes to lead 47-39 after SBU's Damion Hooks hit a jumper with 11:53 to go.
And that's when the Panthers really turned up the defensive heat.
The Bearcats (0-3) didn't make another field goal until reserve Jayon'e Troutman's harmless, garbage-time bucket with one second left. If you're scoring at home, that's 11 minutes, 52 seconds without a bucket.
In the meantime, the Panthers fed off their defensive energy and turned it into points at the other end, including a 19-0 run that produced a 66-39 lead on Hall's 3-pointer with 3:50 to go.
Drury outscored the Bearcats 39-13 in the second half.
"We kind of got after them defensively in the second half, and that was the ballgame," Drury coach Steve Hesser said. "Once we got to moving the ball a little better, and we scored like three or four times there in a row midway through the second half, it gave us more energy on the defensive end, and it just escalated from there."
And it was a sweet ending in particular for Hall in his four years of SBU rivalry games. He started off with a bang, slapping the Bearcats with 33 points in his first-ever college game, but then struggled against SBU in losses the last two years in Bolivar.
Tuesday night, Hall made 11 of 17 shots - including 6 of 9 3-pointers - to score 30 points for the first time since a 36-point night against St. Gregory's midway through his sophomore season.
Hall hit 5 of 7 shots in the second half, including 4 of 5 treys, to key the DU pullaway.
Ian Carter added 12 points as the only other Panther in double-figures, while senior Brandon Lockhart - himself casting aside memories of losses at SBU the past two years - providing his usual complete effort with eight assists, six points, five rebounds and five steals.
Carter had a team-high seven rebounds as the Panthers beat the Bearcats 37-33 on the boards.
Drury forced the Bearcats into 28 turnovers, including 18 after halftime.
Kyle Sloan had 13 points - all in the first half - to lead the Bearcats, who received 10 points from Jaywuan Hill. Sophomore guard Preston Guiot, who burned DU for 25 points last season in Bolivar, was held to five points on 2 of 5 shooting.
SBU made just 15 of 45 shots (33 percent) for the game, including 3 of 19 (16 percent) in the second half. The Panthers hit 27 of 64 for the game (42 percent).
Hesser credited the atmosphere at The O' - and a crowd of 2,511 - for sparking his Panthers, who immediately took the Bank of Bolivar Highway 13 Catfight trophy over to the school's Fanthers student section so they could share in the triumph.
"I'm proud of our team and proud of the O'Reilly Family Event Center ... I thought it was just an excellent college basketball atmosphere," Hesser said. "Hats off to the Drury Fanthers and all of our fans who came out ... we were very appreciative and thankful for that."
Drury is now idle until hosting the Comfort Inn Thanksgiving Classic on Nov. 23-24, entertaining Central Oklahoma at 3:15 p.m. on Friday and Arkansas Tech at 3:15 p.m. on Saturday. Missouri-St. Louis, the GLVC West favorite picked just ahead of the Panthers, will swap opponents with DU each day.
Friday's game will mark the first "Free Friday" promotion, with all fans admitted free for games that day, including the two women's contests, as fans are invited to bring out friends and relatives in for the holidays to experience The O' and Drury Basketball on that Friday, November 23rd.