The Central Missouri Mules used a second half run to get away from the Rockhurst University Hawks at the Sprint Center in Kansas City 82-62.
Central Missouri (4-0) was up by four early in the final period but built that into a 21-point advantage with nine minutes left in the game. RU would cut it to 10 with five minutes to play, but UCM quickly had it back at 22 with a couple left.
The two teams battled back and forth in the first half with eight ties and seven lead changes. The Hawks (1-2) leading scorer coming into the game, Aaron Hill, averaging 26 points per outing, held to six in the half.
Central Missouri went into the break on a 10-4 run to grab the momentum for a 34-28 halftime lead.
Senior guard De’Andre Byrd led the Mules with eight at the half while nine people scored for UCM. The Hawks were paced by Brent Thome with 11 while Alden Smith tallied nine points.
The suprising statistic of the half was that neither team hit any three-pointers. The Mules shot 50 percent from the field but kept it close with only 50 percent foul shooting.
Central Missouri heated up even more in the second half, hitting 60 percent from the field and went 9-of-10 from the line. The difference was the paint and transition play for the Mules though, as they outscored the Hawks 19-6 in points off turnovers in the final half and tallied 48 points in the paint for the game.
Central Missouri also got 42 points off the bench, thanks to career-high scoring efforts from freshman Zach Redel and senior Esian Henderson. The two were a huge part of the second half run, scoring 11 points apiece.