Pumas take control in second half.
The Missouri S&T men's basketball team was unable to overcome a quick spurt by Saint Joseph's in the latter stages of the second half and its own struggles at the free throw line, allowing the visiting Pumas to come away with a 94-87 Great Lakes Valley Conference (GLVC) victory Sunday afternoon at the Gale Bullman Multi-Purpose Building.
S&T falls to 5-6 overall and 0-3 in the GLVC while St. Joseph's improves to 4-8 and 1-1.
The Miners had overcome a 14-point deficit with 11:48 to play with a 21-7 surge to tie the score, but the Pumas regained the lead on their next possession and kept the advantage for good, even as the Miners closed the gap to a point at one juncture.
Sophomore guard Zach Ellis' layup at the 6:19 mark tied the contest at 71, but Jon Smith was fouled after rebounding a miss on the Pumas' next possession and sank both free throws to put Saint Joseph's back on top.
Moments later, Cameron Vines - the GLVC's leading scorer who finished with 33 points Sunday - completed a fast break with a lay-in to extend the lead to four.
The Miners were able to trim the SJC lead to one on a basket by 6-5 junior forward Curtis Okafor with 4:09 to go, but couldn't draw any closer after that.
S&T held the lead in the early stages of the contest, but the Pumas moved in front at 13-10 on a three-pointer by Dawson Gore. Saint Joseph's would eventually lead by as many as nine points in the first half and held a six-point advantage at halftime.
A 7-0 run by the Miners in the opening minutes of the second half gave S&T the lead back at 41-40 after 5-10 senior guard Nusrath Khan nailed a three-pointer, but the Pumas answered when Smith made a put-back of his own miss to spark a 14-0 run that gave Saint Joseph's its largest lead of 13.
That lead would grow to 14 before the Miners went on their run to tie the score, as S&T scored nine straight points in one stretch with points on four straight possessions. Freshman guard Danylo Zuikov's three-pointer started the run that culminated with Ellis' basket that tied the game.
The Miners shot 67.7 percent from the field in the second half and finished the day at a season-high 55.7 percent, but were hampered by their performance at the free throw line, where they made just 12-of-25 and were outscored by 23 points.
Senior guard Mudiaga Eruteya led five Miners in double figures with 22 points, while Khan finished with 15 and 6-1 freshman guard Aaron Emmanuel with 13. Senior guard Bryce Foster, S&T's leading scorer on the season at 22.8 points a game when the day began, scored the Miners' first six points of the game but had only one point for the remainder of the afternoon as he played just 22 minutes due to foul issues.
The Pumas made 50 percent of their shots and connected on 35-of-45 at the line as they won for the first time in conference play.
Missouri S&T will head to the road to face a pair of teams ranked in the top 10 nationally next weekend, beginning Thursday in Evansville, Ind., against Southern Indiana. The Screaming Eagles were ranked eighth in last week's poll and remained undefeated with a win Sunday at Rockhurst.