ROLLA, Mo.— The Drury Panthers clamped down on Missouri S&T in the second half and earned their third-straight win, 86-67, over the Miners in Rolla on Saturday.
The victory lifted Drury to 11-4 and 4-3 in the Great Lakes Valley Conference while dropping Missouri S&T to 3-10 and 1-6 in the league.
The Panthers got three key plays to gain momentum going into halftime. Isaac Johnson hit a three from the corner, giving the Panthers a 40-37 edge with 25 seconds left in the half. Then, with time running out in the first half, Conley Garrison would get a steal, found Johnson up court, and the senior from Kickapoo out-raced defenders and beat the first-half clock to score a lay-up at the buzzer to put Drury in the lead 42-37.
“That 5-0 spurt right at the end of the half was a key,” said Drury head coach Steve Hesser. “That gave us momentum, then we went to some cuts-and-exchanges offensively, and that opened up the middle of the floor. We wound up getting some easy baskets, and we shot really well in the second half.”
The Panthers missed only nine shots after halftime, going 15 for 24 from the floor.
Drury’s defense kicked in as well as they shut out the Miners from the field for the first 8:26 of the second half outscoring them 13-3 in that span.
“We talked to them about contesting shots and a hard-contest, not a soft-contest,” said Hesser. “We were negligent and gave them some easy shots in the first half. We were better at it in the second half.”
Missouri S&T led by eight in the game’s first four minutes before Drury chipped away and seized control late in the opening half.
Conley Garrison led all scorers with 22 points as the junior from Bolivar went 7 for 10 from the floor and 6 for 8 from three-point range. Niekie Thomas and Asa Hutchinson both added 14 points while Johnson finished with 11.
The Panthers shot a season-high 60 percent from the field, hitting 30 of 50 shots in the game and went 7 for 13 from beyond the arc. They also held the Miners to 32 percent shooting, also a season-best for the Drury defense, as Missouri S&T connected on 17 of 54 attempts.
Dulan Scott had 13 points to lead the Miners.
The Panthers play again on Monday when they travel to Southwest Baptist for a 7:30 pm in Bolivar.