The Rockhurst coaching staff had a front-row seat when St. Pius X senior Brian Kaufmann tallied 31 points in a tournament-opening win Wednesday at the American Family Insurance Holiday Classic.
By SAM MCDOWELL
The Kansas City Star
Rockhurst defenders Zach Nelson and Michael Jones — assigned the task of defending Kaufmann one-on-one — made things a little more difficult for the Warriors’ top scorer on Friday night. The result was a 59-44 victory for Rockhurst.
Kaufmann made only two field goals, and zero after halftime. He finished with 10 points on 12 shots.
When St. Pius X, 7-2, attempted to return the favor — and limit Rockhurst senior Kyle Wolf’s touches down low — the Hawklets, 6-2, found a secondary option in Bradley Wilkins.
Wilkins nailed four three-pointers en route to 14 points, opening up the inside for Wolf, who still contributed 19 points as the Hawklets advanced to the title game of the Patterson Division.
“Bradley’s had a couple of those games when they try to sag (the defense) against Kyle,” Rockhurst coach Mark Nusbaum said.
“It was nice to see him step up tonight. It was a good team effort.”
Liberty 61, Truman 59 (OT)
Liberty junior Kellan Turner didn’t know the fate of the game’s final play, but he decided one thing: He would be the one to decide it.
It worked in the Blue Jays’ favor.
Turner hit a runner with four seconds remaining in overtime, sending Liberty to to Patterson Division championship game at 9 tonight. The Blue Jays, 9-1, will play Rockhurst.
“Somehow, I was getting an open shot," said Turner, who scored 25 points. "Coach (Roger) Stirtz called up a great play, and we executed.”
Truman trailed for the final three minutes of the first overtime period, until Dewayne Thornton converted a three-point play with 15.8 seconds remaining.
Liberty called timeout after Thornton’s free throw, setting up Turner’s game-winning bucket. Truman did not get a shot off in the final four seconds.
Thornton led Truman with 20 points, and Lane Titus had 18.
Cody Winters made a three-pointer from the right wing to give Liberty a one-point lead with 43 seconds remaining in regulation.
Truman junior Lane Titus tied the game with a free throw with 17.3 seconds on the clock.