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Western moves on in MIAA Tournament

Mar. 6—Missouri Western men's basketball lives to fight another day after defeating Missouri Southern 62-56 in the first round of the MIAA Tournament on Wednesday.

The second matchup between the Griffons and Lions turned out to be more lopsided than the first contest when only one point decided a winner in early Dec. The second-to-last game of the Wednesday slate featured three All-MIAA selections. Darius Dawson was the lone all-conference selection for Southern and made his presence felt early with a baseline dunk to get the Lions on the board. But following the jam, the Griffs would make Dawson's life difficult as they held him scoreless the rest of the quarter, primarily due to Dawson getting into foul trouble in the first half, causing him to miss a significant amount of time.

The other two All-MIAA selections were featured on the Missouri Western side as both JaRon Thames and Taye Fields were third team selections. Both players ended up being paramount in the win against Southern as Thames led the Griffons with 18 points with 15 of those coming in the second half. Fields issued an all-around performance with 15 points, 15 rebounds and four assists.

Turnovers still continue to plague the Griffons, and Wednesday's first round contest was no exception. Western tallied seven turnovers in the first 20 minutes and finished the night with 15 for the game. Head coach Will Martin has harped on the turnovers for a majority of the season, but has found some solace in the statistic as long as the Griffs had found ways to extend possessions with offensive rebounds. The Griffs did win in the offensive boards category on the night by being +6 in that department.

Western will move on to the next round of the tournament and will have a quick turnaround by advancing to play Northwest Missouri State on Thursday at 6 p.m. Western is 1-1 against the Bearcats this season.

Jacob Meikel can be reached at jacob.meikel@newspressnow.com.

Follow him on Twitter @NPNowMeikel.