Trojans erupt to start second half, advance to AMC semifinals

HANNIBAL, Mo. — Tyrone Hueitt Jr. says bringing defensive intensity is the priority of the Hannibal-LaGrange University men’s basketball team.

That intensity fueled a game-deciding run Thursday night.

HLGU opened the second half on a 17-0, and used that to put away Harris-Stowe State 84-69 in the American Midwest Conference Tournament quarterfinals at the Mabee Sports Complex.

Third-seeded HLGU (18-10) will advance to play second-seeded Park, a 60-45 winner over Lyon, in the semifinals Saturday in Parkville, Mo.

The Trojans held the Hornets scoreless for nearly eight minutes to start the second half. Sixth-seeded Harris-Stowe (16-13) missed its first 11 shots and turned the ball over twice. That allowed the Trojans turned a 33-31 halftime deficit to a 48-33 lead after Brady Smith’s basket with 13:14 remaining in regulation. Hueitt Jr. scored the first five points of the second half, and he finished with 16 points and nine rebounds.

Five different players scored in HLGU’s run, and the Trojans went 6 for 11 from the field.

HLGU led by as many as 20 points after Grant Peters converted a 3-point play to make it 62-42 with 8:24 remaining. The Hornets couldn’t get closer than 10 points in the final 10 minutes.

Harris-Stowe’s poor shooting was a much different performance from the first half, where the Hornets made 6 of 13 attempts.

"They had some really good looks in the first half," HLGU sophomore guard Brady Smith said. "We knew we had to come out and guard them a little harder on the 3-point line."

The Hornets shot 3 of 8 from 3-point range in the second half, while the Trojans finished 10 of 19.

HLGU coach Jason Durst said playing Harris-Stowe a third time this season — the Trojans won all three matchups — helped his team prepare.

"We knew they were going to come at us off the dribble," Durst said. "We were able to take away some offensive opportunities."

Smith made four 3-pointers in the second half, and led the Trojans with a double-double of 25 points and 10 boards.

Ryan Ward finished with 13 points, while Michael Hood added 11.

It was the kind of performance the Trojans wanted to have in with a packed crowd.

"I loved it," Hueitt Jr. said. "It gave us energy and made me feel like I couldn’t get tired out there. It was just an amazing environment to play in."

Hueitt Jr. likes the next matchup against Park. HLGU won both meetings in the regular season, a 66-55 victory on Feb. 2, and a 50-45 contest on Dec. 15.

"I feel like we can run our stuff against Park," he said. "I feel like we matchup well against them. Defensive intensity is our priority. We want to keep it going and try to get that championship."

Hannibal-LaGrange 84, Harris-Stowe 69

HARRIS-STOWE (16-13)

Du. Clark 3-5 0-0 6, Giles Jr. 3-9 0-0 6, Clarkson 4-13 1-2 11, De. Clark 4-14 5-7 16, Rigmaiden 3-7 0-0 8, Barnes 2-4 2-3 6, Watters 0-1 0-0 0, Lash 1-1 0-0 2, Wells Jr. 6-6 0-3 14, Watts 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 26-60 8-15 69.

HANNIBAL-LAGRANGE (10-18)

Smith 9-13 3-6 25, Hueitt Jr. 3-8 9-11 16, Ward 5-10 2-2 13, Hood 3-9 4-7 11, Jackson 3-7 1-2 7, Ellison 0-0 0-0 0, Thebeau 3-4 0-0 9, Peters 1-1 1-1 3, Couch 0-0 0-0 0, Baumann 0-0 0-0 0, Holman 0-0 0-0 0, Hall 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 27-52 20-29 84.

Halftime score–Harris-Stow 33, HLGU 31. 3-point field goals–Harris-Stowe 9-21 (De. Clark 3-8, Clarkson 2-7, Rigmaiden 2-4, Wells Jr. 2-2), HLGU 10-19 (Smith 4-5, Thebeau 3-3, Ward 1-4, Hueitt Jr. 1-2). Rebounds–Harris-Stowe 28 (Giles Jr. 10), HLGU 42 (Smith 10). Assists–Harris-Stowe 14 (Clarkson 7), HLGU (Hueitt Jr. 4). Blocks–Harris-Stowe 1 (Du. Clark), HLGU 4 (Jackson 2). Steals–Harris-Stowe 13 (Giles Jr. 4), HLGU 6 (Hood 2). Turnovers–Harris-Stowe 17, HLGU 17. Fouls–Harris-Stowe 24, HLGU 12. Fouled out–Giles Jr. Rigmaiden, Barnes.

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