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St. Mary freshman and former Warrensburg Tiger Luke Mackey sets up the Spires' offense in the first half of Tuesday's, Dec. 31, contest with Central Missouri.

WARRENSBURG - The largest reaction from the crowd on hand for Central Missouri and St. Mary on Tuesday, Dec. 31, didn’t come while the Mules were building a 30-point lead on their NAIA opponent. It came when Warrensburg-native Luke Mackey snuck behind the UCM defense for an uncontested lay-up, notching his first points of the afternoon.

The former Warrensburg Tiger started for St. Mary - his seventh start as a freshman - scoring five points in 24 minutes with three assists and three rebounds as the Spires lost to Division II Mules.

“It’s good to comeback, got to see some of my friends and family in the crowd,” Mackey said. “UCM is a good team, so I am glad we got to compete a little bit.”

Mackey is the lone freshman to start a game for St. Mary and is averaging 18.9 minutes per game - third most on the Spires - and leads the team in assists with 27.

“It’s gone pretty good,” Mackey said on his first year of college basketball. “I’ve had to step up a lot with some older guys being out. Just stepping up to the challenge really.”

Mackey is scoring 3 points per game with his career-high of 12 points coming against Sterling.

“It’s definitely a faster paced game and a lot more physical,” Mackey said. “ I’ve been lifting over the summer trying to prepare for this. I get my bumps and bruises, but just have to keep going.”

St. Mary is currently 7-6 on the year.

Sports Editor Randy Speer can be reached by emailing randy.speer@dsjnow.com, by calling (660) 747-8123 or on Twitter at @RandySpeer_DSJ.

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