By Alex Neupert, Sports Editor
Despite being down by 22 points at one point, the University of Missouri—St. Louis men’s basketball team gave maximum effort in fighting back to a comeback opportunity against Drury University on February 20. The women’s team also maintained poise and refused to go down easily against the National Collegiate Athletic Association—Division II #12 Drury women’s team. While coming within six points twice in the fourth quarter, the Triton women ultimately fell short in their upset bout.
UMSL’s women’s team faced their Panther counterparts first on the afternoon, coming into the contest having won only one of their last three games against all Great Lakes Valley Conference (GLVC) opponents. On the reverse, Drury has been on a tear all season, amassing 22 wins (including the Saturday result) and only three losses. Their last defeat was at the hands of Wisconsin-Parkside on January 9, a startling representation of their domination of both the GLVC and D-II basketball at large.
The Tritons came out of the gates prepared to make Drury earn the win and maintained a small lead for much of the first quarter, only trailing by two at its conclusion. However, a slew of turnovers in the second quarter coupled with many missed shots on the Tritons’ side saw them falling apart as the clock neared zero. UMSL managed only nine points in that portion of the game with only one field goal amongst the entire team.
Drury, on the other hand, maintained their confidence and zeroed in as they turned the corner, starting the second half with a very comfortable 13-point lead over the visiting Tritons. While the women’s team gave it every effort, the deficit proved to be too much of an uphill battle for the outmatched Tritons, and even after getting within six points of the lead twice in the fourth quarter, the Panthers’ calm control over the game granted them the victory 73-59.
While no starters touched double digits in scoring, Shea O’Brian, junior, elementary education, was tremendous off the bench for the Tritons with 16 points in only 17 minutes on the court.
The men’s team for UMSL fared a little better against the Drury men but were still handed the loss in a near comeback. Like the women’s team, the men came into the matchup in a bit of a rut but were looking to turn it around after a strong offensive showing against Missouri S&T on February 18.
Three minutes into the first half, the Tritons quickly found themselves trailing 2-10 to the Panthers. For a period of six minutes, UMSL failed to net a single point before Brandon Marquardt, senior, business administration, finally sank a three-pointer with a little over 10 minutes to go. However, continual poor shooting from the Tritons, who only attained a 39.1 field goal percent in the first half, led to them heading to the locker rooms down by 17.
Kameron Bundy, the starting guard for Drury, kept up the tempo his team established in the first half and helped push their lead to a game high of 22. He shot terrifically throughout the afternoon, hitting three three-pointers along with his 24 total points. His counterpart, UMSL’s Marquardt, nearly kept up with his 20 points and four three-pointers, leading his team on the comeback try during the latter part of the second half.
Down by 20 with 16 minutes to go, the Tritons went on a 9-0 run to catch back up and were within one point twice in the closing minutes. But just like their female counterparts, the UMSL men’s team could not come up with the victory despite terrific effort on all sides.
Both the men and women’s teams play on the road in their next matchup against Maryville University on February 25. The games are the last of the regular season for the Tritons, so be sure to head over to their campus to show your support.