ROLLA, Mo. – A game effort by Missouri S&T's men's basketball team fell just short Saturday night, as Drury held off the Miners' upset bid by leaving Billy Key Court with a 90-85 victory in Great Lakes Valley Conference action.
The Panthers (16-4, 9-3 GLVC) beat the Miners (2-19, 0-13 GLVC) by 44 points when the teams played in Springfield three weeks ago, but Saturday's contest was nothing like that. Drury scored the first six points of the game – S&T's first points came nearly three minutes in on a lay-up by Ervin Sarajlic (St. Louis, MO/Oakville) – but after the first five minutes, it turned into a tough battle for the rest of the night.
S&T used an 8-0 run to take its first lead of the contest, which came when Chris Harris (Antioch, IL/Lake Forest Academy) hit the second of his back-to-back three-point baskets to give the Miners a 12-9 lead at the 14:06 mark. Harris would hit another trey with 8:06 left in the half to give S&T its largest lead of the half at 26-22.
A 10-0 run by the Panthers gave them the lead back, but the Miners were able to keep things close to the end of the half, getting a basket from Romain Louiserre (La Ferte Alais, France/Fredrick Fays) in the final seconds of the period to get to within two at the intermission.
Missouri S&T shot 51.9 percent in the first half and connected nine times from three-point range, but the even through the threes weren't falling early in the second half, the Miners stayed right on par with the Panthers as they swapped the lead on several occasions over the front end of the period.
Drury led 61-55 six minutes into the second half, but the Miners rattled off seven straight points to regain the lead on a Louiserre basket with 12:26 to go. Moments later, a three-point play by Dulan Scott (Chicago, IL/Farragut Academy) gave S&T the lead again at 65-64, then Louiserre scored again with 10:32 left to give S&T a 69-67 advantage.
The Panthers took the lead for good with 9:51 remaining when Brandon Wolfe knocked down a three-pointer, but the Miners wouldn't go away and were within three with just over a minute to go after Sebastian Ferenc (Zgierz, Poland/) knocked down a baseline jumper. S&T forced a missed shot on Drury's next possession, but Douglas Moore got the offensive board and a put-back for the Panthers to extend the lead to five.
S&T shot 53.6 percent for the game – its best mark from the field in over a month – and had four players in double figures, led by Harris with 20 points. The Miners also got 17 points from Sarajlic, 16 from Ferenc and 14 from Louiserre as they connected 12 times from three-point range in the game.
The Miners held the Panthers, who entered the game ranked second in the GLVC in field goal percentage at 50.9 percent, to 45.3 percent from the floor, but Drury outrebounded the Miners 38-27 on the night. Isaac Johnson and Allen Billinger had 16 points apiece to lead Drury in the scoring column.
Missouri S&T will be idle until next Saturday, when it faces Missouri-St. Louis in a 3 p.m. contest in St. Louis.