Tyrell Carroll continued his late season tear, powering Missouri Western to its first win in Gross Memorial Coliseum since 2009 with Tuesday’s 78-73 win against Fort Hays State in Hays, Kansas.
Carroll scored 25 points on 8-of-14 shooting to go with a career-high-tying seven assists, five rebounds and four steals. It’s Carroll’s fourth 20-point game in his last six, which also includes 17- and 19-point performances. He also has five-plus assists in five of those games with four three-plus-steal games.
The Griffons started slow from the field, trailing 9-6 before a Reese Glover 3-pointer kickstarted an 8-0 run.
Western (12-9) remained ahead the rest of the half, though a 6-0 spurt to end the period by Hays (11-10) cut Western’s lead to 39-36. Caleb Bennett, who scored 17 points with eight rebounds, scored 11 before the break.
The Tigers took a 40-39 lead in the first minute of the second half but wouldn’t lead the rest of the way. Carroll’s 3-pointer ended Hays’ 10-0 run and gave Western the lead for good.
Carroll scored 15 of his points in the second half.
Hays got within three points with 5:12 to play on Nyjee Wright free throws, though the Griffons would answer each basket. Wright hit a 3-pointer with 1:59 to play to make it a three-point game again, then he sank two free throws with 38 seconds left to cut the deficit to one.
Carroll and Glover went 4-for-4 from the free-throw line in the final 28 seconds to secure the win.
Q Mays came off the bench to score 15 points on 6-of-11 shooting.
Western received bad news when reigning MIAA Freshman of the Year Will Eames suffered an apparent right knee injury with under seven minutes to play while making a pass near the free-throw line. He went down, immediately reaching for the knee, and didn’t return. He totaled four points and eight rebounds in 30 minutes.
Western committed just six turnovers and was 20 of 22 from the free-throw line. The Griffons also held Hays to 4-of-22 shooting from 3-point range.
Western appears to have locked up a spot in the MIAA Tournament based off potential tiebreakers, due to only losing a head-to-head tiebreaker against Central Oklahoma in the potential of a tie in record. The Griffons hold the tiebreaker for best win with two victories over Washburn, which would be the best potential victory for any team Western could tie with. The Griffons can still claim as high as the No. 3 seed.
Western finishes the regular season at 3:30 p.m. Saturday with a home game against Nebraska-Kearney.