ROLLA, Mo. – For the second time in three days, Missouri S&T's men's basketball team raced out to a big lead in the first half of play. However, a disastrous second half doomed the Miners as Rockhurst sent S&T to a 94-69 defeat Saturday afternoon at Billy Key Court.
The Miners (2-17, 0-11 Great Lakes Valley Conference) shot 56.7 percent in the first half, which included nine three-point baskets and led by 50-43 at the intermission after leading by as many as 16 points in the opening half. But after the break, the Miners made only six-of-27 (22.2 percent) from the field as the Hawks (10-10, 4-7 GLVC) outscored S&T 51-19 over the final 20 minutes.
S&T fell behind by seven in the early going, but used a 10-0 run to take the lead on Ervin Sarajlic (St. Louis, MO/Oakville)'s three-pointer at the 12:54 mark of the first half. Rockhurst tied the score on an Undra Wilson trey, but Sarajlic answered with another three to put S&T back into the lead for the balance of the first half.
The Miners built the lead to nine on a three-pointer by Dulan Scott (Chicago, IL/Farragut Academy)with 7:21 to go in the half, then S&T used a 9-0 run to take its largest lead of the first half at 43-27 following two Scott free throws with 4:16 left before halftime.
The Hawks cut that lead down to five in the latter stages of the half before a Sebastian Ferenc (Zgierz, Poland/) basket shortly before the period ended gave S&T its seven-point halftime lead, but the second half turned into a nightmare in the early minutes.
S&T still held the lead at 55-50 when Ferenc was called for an offensive foul with 15:24, then was assessed two technical fouls for arguing the call and was ejected from the game as a result. The Hawks made two of the four free throws that came as a result, then took the lead less than a minute later on a Connor Evans basket.
Rockhurst went on a 12-0 run after the technicals to take a seven-point lead, then took advantage of the Miners' shooting troubles to break the game open. S&T got a basket from Romain Louiserre (La Ferte Alais, France/Fredrick Fays) to stop the first run, but the Hawks scored 16 of the next 18 points and led by 19 before the clock reached the seven-minute mark in the second half.
The Miners had five players in double figures for the second straight game, with Sarajlic leading the way with 15 points – all coming on five-of-nine shooting from three-point range. Louiserre added 14 points, while Scott and Ferenc had 11 points apiece and Allante Pickens (Chicago, IL/Curie) finished with 10.
Missouri S&T finished at 40.4 percent from the field in the game and made 11 three-pointers, but hit only two after the intermission.
Freshman guard Curtis Lewis, who had averaged over 21 points over the Hawks' previous seven games, had 20 of his game-high 25 points in the second half. Rockhurst hit 51.6 percent of its shots in the game and made 10 of its 16 three-pointers in the final 20 minutes.
Missouri S&T will face William Jewell Thursday in a 7:30 p.m. contest in Liberty, Mo.