WARRENSBURG — The Mules picked up their third MIAA win of the year with a 67-49 win over Emporia State on Wednesday, Jan. 29.
“I thought we accomplished a lot of what we wanted to do,” Central Missouri coach Doug Karleksint said. “As far as from an execution standpoint, we had probably one of our best games.”
UCM (8-11, 3-7 MIAA) started the game red-hot from three, scoring 15 of its first 21 points from behind the arc.
Emporia State (10-9, 4-6) clawed back to within two, 27-25, with UCM missing its next three shots from behind the arc.
“Let’s not fall into that trap, like what we have in a couple games and let’s attack the basket,” Karleskint said on his message after the missed 3-point shots. “That’s where we widen the gap.”
Central Missouri finished the half on a 6-0 run, leading 33-25.
The Mules scored four quick points out of the break to regain a double-digit lead and never led by fewer than 10 points the remainder of the game.
A layup by Dawson Jones with 11 minutes, 10 seconds left in the half gave UCM it’s first 20-point lead of the night.
The Mules would keep their advantage above 20 points for the majority of the final 11 minutes of action.
UCM got to enjoy the much-needed win that stopped two-game losing skid as 13 different Mules saw the court and 11 enter the scoring column.
“We talked a lot, kind of like everybody in the world, about not taking things for granted, especially after Sunday’s incident with Kobe (Bryant),” Karleskint said. “We shared some videos with the team about him and his approach and I think a lot of guys took that approach. You are never guaranteed next day and just go out and enjoy playing basketball. I think we did enjoy competing and just getting to put a Mules jersey on.”
Gaven Pinkley led the Mules with 11 points and eight rebounds. Kendale Hampton added 10 points as the second UCM player to reach double-figures.
Dillion Blain made his first career start for Central Missouri, scoring two points while logging a career-high 14 minutes.
“I think he has just been really, really dependable in practice and we gave him a shot to play the last several games and he has provided a good toughness,” Karleskint said.
Central Missouri hosts Washburn (12-7, 7-3) at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 1. The Ichabods are coming off a 75-50 win over Lincoln and have won four straight.