KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Without his leading scorer and captain in senior guard Q Mays, Will Martin called on freshman Reed Kemp to carry the load as the Griffons’ point guard.

Having just three minutes to his name prior to Tuesday, the Franklin, Tennessee, native filled the role to near perfection. He assisted on the game’s opening basket, a corner 3-pointer by Caleb Bennett, and was off and running with 11 points and six assists, helping Missouri Western to a 69-59 win against Rockhurst at Mason-Halpin Field House.

With Mays away from the team due to a family emergency and the Griffons (3-4) trying to bounce back from an uncharacteristic showing in a loss Saturday, Kemp and his hometown counterpart, sophomore guard Reese Glover, led the way.

“It’s huge for us. We’ve going through some struggles recently and have just been focused on ourselves each and everyday,” said Glover, who finished with 21 points on 7 of 11 from 3-point range, sinking 18 points after halftime. “This is where we’re trying to get better, and we got better today and came out with the win. … (The freshmen) all stepped up today and played huge minutes for us.”

Kemp played 24 minutes while freshmen Taye Fields, Zion Swader and JC Anthony combined for 12 points 20 minutes.

Having lost three of the last four, getting the win in such fashion with one final non-conference game approaching is just what the Griffons felt they needed.

“We’ll take any win. We need it for momentum,” Martin said. “I’m really proud of guys who stepped up in this game. It was an unorthodox game. You saw freshmen really step up. … Reed Kemp was able to step up, get his first start and have a phenomenal game.”

Western shot just 33% in the opening half, and a late flurry of 3-pointers by Rockhurst (1-5) put the Hawks up 25-24 at halftime.

But an 11-0 run fueled by two baskets from Caleb Bennett, a Glover 3-pointer and an and-one by Alex John provided a spark going into a timeout.

“We definitely needed that little spurt to start the second half, just playing together,” Kemp said. “If we do that, we’re gonna be tough to beat.”

From there, the lead reached as much as 16. The Hawks cut the lead to four with 1:36 to play, but Kemp made a jumper and made four late free throws to ice the game.

Bennett finished with 12 points and six rebounds. JaRon Thames added seven points, four rebounds and three steals. Alex John finished with seven points, and Will Eames tallied six pints and 10 rebounds. The Griffons turned the ball over just two times in the second half.

Western hosts William Jewell at 6 p.m. Saturday.

Brandon Zenner can be reached at brandon.zenner@newspressnow.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NPNowZenner.

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