Late run propels No. 22 Mules past Lincoln

Written by Muleskinner Staff

(WARRENSBURG, Mo.) — The Mules used a 15-5 run to break a 50-all tie and pull away from Lincoln for a 71-62 win on Wednesday night at the Multipurpose Building. The back-and-forth battle saw 11 ties and 14 lead changes as the Mules improved to 16-3 overall and 7-3 in MIAA play.
The game was tight in the early going with the Blue Tigers (4-14, 1-8 MIAA) grabbing a 10-6 lead at the 14:14 mark of the first half. The Mules used four quick points to tie the game only to see Lincoln go back in front on a three-pointer from Blake Ralling. Jordan Epps tied the game for the Mules with a three-point play, but Ralling answered with another three and LU led 16-13 with 9:53 left in the first half.
Dillon Deck made 1-of-2 free throws and Donte Adams scored a layup to tie the game and start an 8-0 run that gave UCM a 21-16 lead with 6:33 left in the opening stanza. The lead was five at 23-18 on a Deck layup, but a 10-3 run gave the Blue Tigers a 28-26 advantage with just over a minute to play. Deck made 1-of-2 at the line again to pull within one, but Zach Schraeder scored a layup to push the lead to three.Rakeem Dickerson scored for the Mules right before the half and UCM trailed 30-29 at halftime.
The Mules opened the second half on a 5-0 run to grab a 34-30 lead and force a Blue Tiger timeout. Lincoln came right back with a 7-2 spurt to regain the lead and the back-and-forth affair continued. Neither team led by more than two as the game see-sawed back and forth. Schraeder made a pair of free throws to give the Blue Tigers a 48-47 lead only to see Tony Cochran bury a three to give UCM a 50-48 lead. Joshua Buie tied the game with a jumper, but his free throw was no good and the game was knotted a 50-50 with 8:56 to play.
That’s when UCM took over. Adams scored on a jumper from the top of the key to give UCM a 52-50 advantage and Cochran buried another three off an assist from TJ White and the Mules led by five. After a pair of foul shots for LU, Cochran hit another three and the lead was six. Cochran made two free throws and White scored on a layup to extend the lead to eight. Following one made FT from the Blue Tigers, Cochran hit his fourth three of the second half and UCM led by 10 with 3:15 to play.
The Mules pushed the lead to as many as 13 with 1:00 to play and took the nine-point win for their third straight victory.
UCM shot 47 percent for the game, 25-of-53, including 5-of-16 from three-point range for 31 percent. The Mules struggled at the foul line to a 64 percent clip, making 16-of-25 attempts. The Mules were led in scoring by Cochran and Deck’s 14 points. Dickerson finished with 13, while White had 12 points to go along with eight rebounds, six assists and four steals. Adams chipped in seven points and seven rebounds off the bench as well.
Lincoln was led in scoring by Malcolm McDonald’s 18 points and Ralling’s 16. LU was 19-of-44 from the field for 43 percent, but blistered the nets from beyond the arc at 10-of-16 for 63 percent. The Blue Tigers were 14-of-23 at the free throw line for 61 percent.
The Mules out-scored Lincoln 38-14 in the paint and 41-4 from the bench. UCM turned 13 LU turnovers in to 18 points as well.
Central Missouri is back in action this Saturday at Lindenwood at 3 p.m.