WARRENSBURG — Ninety seconds into Central Missouri game against Central Christian College of the Bible on Saturday, Nov. 30, junior Michael Winger knocked down a 3-pointer.
“When Winger sees one go down early, it’s a pretty good sign,” Central Missouri coach Doug Karleskint said.
The junior sharpshooter went into Saturday having made multiple threes in just one game this season after shooting nearly 50% from three last season.
“We almost beg him to shoot,” Karleskint said. “There are a lot of times where you look on the stat sheet and he’s got like two shots. For us to be our best team, he’s got to feel confident and get some shots up.”
Winger kept shooting after his first made 3-pointer, finishing with a career-high 21 points as the Mules routed Central Christian College of the Bible 82-46.
Central Missouri doubled up the Saints 18-9 in the first seven minutes before back-to-back 3-pointers by Winger jump started a 13-0 run that saw UCM extend its lead to 31-9.
A personal 5-0 run by Gavin Pinkley ended the half to send the Mules into the locker room up 47-21.
Pinkley finished with 16 points, but left the game after landing awkwardly hauling in a defensive rebound in the second half.
The Mules were without Dyllan Robinson for the nonconference match-up. Matt Wilkinson also exited the contest with an injury.
“The things that that game shows is that we still need to play more together,” Karleskint said. “There are some spots with some line-ups that we weren’t accustomed to without (Robinson).”
The second half featured primarily the Mules bench with the majority of the starters playing five minutes or few with the exception of freshman DeAndre Sorrells, who played 12 minutes in the second half and finished with seven points.
“I feel like one through ten, we’ve got to get ingrained in playing together and winning together.” Karleskint said.
The Mules largest lead of the afternoon came with a lay-up by Dillon Blair to make it a 82-42 game with 3:41 left.
Blair finished with five points, knocking down a three-pointer for his first basket as a Mule.
Joshua Greer paced the Mules in the second half, scoring seven of his 13 points in the frame.
Central Missouri went 11 deep in its bench with nine players scoring to help reach the season-high 82 points.
The Mules will open MIAA play at home at 7: 30 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 5, hosting Missouri Western.
“I am sure those guys are really excited (for conference play), where the record is 0-0, almost a clean slate,” Karleskint said. “They know the importance of conference. ...The level of intensity, it’s like playoff NBA basketball from the regular season, it just elevates to a whole ‘nother level.”