Missouri Western outscored Rogers State 17-4 in overtime, outlasting the Hillcats in a matchup of preseason top-five teams in the MIAA for a 68-55 victory.
The win comes in the head-coaching debut of Will Martin.
“A win is a win,” Martin said. “To be able to get a win on the road against a team picked fourth in the conference solidifies we haven’t arrived, but we’re coming. We have to continue to buy in to getting better.”
Tyrell Carroll, a junior coming off a first-team All-MIAA season, finishing with 17 points, four rebounds, four assists and three steals to lead the Griffons.
Junior college transfer JaQuaylon Mays added 13 points and 11 rebounds in 31 minutes off the bench.
Western (1-0) opened the game on a 7-0 run between Carroll and junior Caleb Bennett, a Lafayette grad who transferred in from Lehigh to make his Griffon debut.
Carroll climbed up to 10 points on a jumper six minutes into the game to lead 12-6.
The Griffons would score just three baskets over the next 10 minutes, falling behind 21-18 on a 3-pointer by Devin Pullum.
An and-one in the final minute of the half by Alex John led to a 25-all game at the half.
Down five with 11 minutes to play, Western went on a 10-0 run in 2:41 to flip the lead. Mays and Reese Glover sank 3-pointers in that span, ending an 0-of-14 start from deep.
After a turnover in the final 30 seconds, Brewster Peacock made just 1 of 2 free throws for Rogers, and Will Eames missed a shot for Western, and the game went to overtime.
Western scored the first six points by attacking the rim, and 3-pointers by Mays and Glover extended the lead to 10.
Western won the points-off-turnovers battle 20-11, despite both teams committing more than 20. The Griffons shot just 34.9% but held Rogers State to 29.1% from the field.
The Griffons will not play Saturday as Northeastern State’s men postponed due to COVID-19 cases within the team. Western is back in action at home Dec. 3 against Lincoln.