Strong defense leads No. 19 Central Missouri past Lindenwood

Written by Muleskinner Staff

(WARRENSBURG, Mo.)A strong defensive effor led 19th-ranked Central Missouri to a 58-53 win over Lindenwood on Saturday afternoon at the UCM Multipurpose Building. The Mules held the Lions to just six made field goals in the first half and to 41 percent shooting for the game.
The Mules (21-4, 12-4 MIAA) opened the game on a 9-0 run and never trailed en route to their fifth straight win. Lindenwood (16-9, 11-5 MIAA) didn’t record their first field goal until the 12:32 mark when they cut the UCM lead to 9-2. A layup from Dillon Deck and a long three-pointer from Jordan Epps gave the Mules an 11-point advantage at the 11:01 mark.
Four quick points by Lindenwood cut the lead to seven, but a 10-3 run by the Mules gave them their largest lead of the game at 24-10 with 3:16 to play in the first half. The Lions scored the final four points of the half and UCM led 24-14 at the intermission.
UCM held LWU to 6-of-23 shooting in the first half and just 26 percent. The Lions, who entered the game second in the MIAA in three-point field goal percentage, were 0-of-7 from beyond the arc in the first half.
The teams traded buckets out of halftime with UCM able to push the lead back to 13 at 33-20 with 15:40 to play in the game. A 7-0 spurt by the Lions cut the lead to six at 33-27 with 11:21 on the clock. A jumper from Brad Woodson stopped UCM’s scoring drought and gave the Mules an eight-point lead, but Cory Arentsen hit two free throws and it was back to a six point game.
The lead was seven at 37-30 when Rakeem Dickerson scored on back-to-back trips to put UCM back in front by double digits, 41-30, and force a Lindenwood timeout. The Lions cut the lead back to six at 43-37 with 4:43 to play, but Brennen Hughes and TJ White had consecutive buckets and the lead was once again 10.
Lindenwood started to hit some threes and cut the lead to five with :49 to play, but Woodson stepped to the foul line and calmly hit two shots to give the Mules a 51-44 lead with :46 to play. Following a Darris Smith three Preston Brunz made a pair at the foul line and it was a six point game. Woodson made two more to give UCM a 55-47 lead with :18 left in regulation.
LJ McIntosh hit a three to make it a five point game before Hughes made one of two free throws to give UCM a six-point cushion. Chanse Creekmur hit a deep three to pull LWU within three, but Dickerson hit two more foul shots to ice the game and give the Mules the win.
White led UCM with 11 points, while Brunz and Woodson added 10 each. The Mules were 22-of-50 from the field for 44 percent and made 4-of-15 from three for 27 percent. The Mules were 10-of-13 at the charity stripe for 77 percent.
The Mules held a 26-16 advantage in points in the paint and 17-3 in bench scoring.
Lindenwood was led by Smith’s 14 points, while Creekmur had 11 and Arentsen finished with 10. The Lions shot 41 percent for the game, 20-of-49, and made 7-of-19 from three-point range for 37 percent. LWU was 6-of-12 at the foul line for 50 percent.
The win moves UCM into sole possession of first place in the MIAA, a half game ahead of Northwest Missouri and a game in front of Lindenwood.
The Mules are off until next Saturday when they host Southwest Baptist at 3:30 p.m. at the Multi. The game can be heard live on 1450 KOKO, 98.5 The Bar and warrensburgradio.com with Greg Hassler on the call.