Miners' final tune-up before getting back into GLVC play.
Missouri S&T's men's basketball team will have its final tune-up before restarting Great Lakes Valley Conference play, hosting William Woods Wednesday in a 3 p.m. contest at Billy Key Court in the Gale Bullman Multi-Purpose Building during its final non-conference tilt of the 2014-15 season.
The Miners, who played one conference game earlier this month and will resume their GLVC slate Jan. 2 at Saint Joseph's, bring a 6-2 record into Wednesday's game. S&T has not played since beating Trevecca Nazarene 107-97 on Dec. 12 and with a Wednesday, would give the Miners seven wins prior to start of a new calendar year for the first time since 2003-04.
They will be facing a William Woods squad that will return to play one night earlier at Southwest Baptist; Wednesday's game at S&T will be an exhibition contest for the Owls, who are 4-8 on the year.
William Woods has dropped four of its last five contests, the most recent a 45-42 decision to Lyon on Dec. 18. D.J. Johnson led the Owls in scoring that night with 12 points and leads his team in scoring with an average of 12.2 points per game. Johnson also leads WWU in rebounding with 6.6 per game and is shooting 54.2 percent from the field.
Ryan Hill is also averaging in double figures for the Owls at 11.2 points a contest and is connecting on 46.4 percent of his three-point attempts. Nate Bitner is just below the double figure mark at 9.7 points a game and has made 39.6 percent of his tries from long range with a team-high 21 three-point baskets.
Missouri S&T, one of 14 teams in the GLVC with an overall record above the .500 mark heading into play on Dec. 31, has three players averaging in double figures the scoring column. That group is led by Zach Ellis, a 6-0 junior guard who is scoring 15.9 points per game after posting 26 in the victory over Trevecca Nazarene. Ellis also leads S&T in steals with 20 and has made a team-high 12 three-pointers at a clip of 48 percent.
Desmond Buerge, a 6-5 junior guard, is averaging 14.4 points per contest and 6-4 junior forward Marcus Walden, S&T's top rebounder with 5.4 a game, is averaging 11 points a game. Walden ranks fourth in the GLVC in field goal percentage at 67.4 percent.
Wednesday's game marks just the second time the Miners and Owls have squared off in a regular season contest. S&T won the other meeting three seasons ago in Rolla by a count of 79-62.