PARKVILLE, Mo. – BJ Watson led all scorers with 21 points and Ikem Eriobuna posted an 11-point, 13-rebound double-double, while a poor shooting performance in the first half derailed William Woods, handing a 70-53 win to Park University Saturday (Feb. 11) in Parkville.
"If they shoot the ball they're right in it, because we made our share of mistakes," said Park coach Jason Kline, as his team improved to 17-5 on the year. "It was a physical game, and I think that played to our advantage, but our shot selection could have been better today. We will take it, though, because that's a good team that beat us just a little over a month ago."
Xavielle Brown added another double-double for the Pirates with 18 points and 12 boards, making 5-of-6 from the foul line, and Watson had four of Park's six makes from beyond the 3-point arc. One William Woods player was in double figures, Torin Washington, with 10 points, as the Owls lost for the 10th time in 2016-17, 16-10 overall and 10-8 in the AMC. Park's win moved the Pirates to 14-4 in the league, and a Central Baptist win Saturday over Freed-Hardeman moved the Pirates two games in front of both FHU and CBC, who are now tied for third at 11-6.
"Next week is huge, now, with a two-game lead on those two for second place and Harris-Stowe right behind them," Kline said. "Harris-Stowe has been on an incredible run lately, and we will have our hands full Thursday night."
Park didn't trail in the game, jumping in front 4-0 before allowing a 4-0 run for William Woods to tie the game, answered by a free throw from Brown and baskets in the lane by Eriobuna and Watson, five minutes in, to put Park in front for good.
Five minutes later, Levi Mitchell knocked in a 3-pointer to make it 16-7, and the lead was 10 a minute later, when Watson scored a pair at the foul line to make it 18-8. William Woods did push the Pirates, trimming the lead to six with 5:24 in the half on a bucket by Washington to make it 19-13, but Park answered with the next three baskets, including a Zach Rutland lay-in with 2:24 in the half to make it 24-13.
Brown added another basket with 23 seconds left to give Park its largest first-half lead, but a bucket in the lane from Darrien Dickey ended a scoring drought for the Owls and cut Park's lead to 11 at the half, 31-20.
Jonny Woolf buried a 3-pointer on Woods' first possession of the second half to get back within single digits, 31-23, but Park turned a 31-23 lead in to a 39-23 advantage in a matter of three minutes, as Watson tripled with 16:02 to play to make it a 16-point game. Watson's fourth and final three of the game pushed the lead past 20 points, with 7:18 to go up 58-36, and the lead grew to as many as 26 with 3:42 to go, when Eriobuna rattled the rim with a dunk, catching the ball in mid-air from Watson before hitting the back box on the rim to make it 67-41.
Eriobuna followed with a block on the other end, and Park was able to clear its bench with a minute left, securing the team's sixth-straight win, before next week's American Midwest Conference Game of the Week, Thursday night at 7:30 p.m., at Harris-Stowe State University.