HAAC Athletic News
MNU head coach Rocky Lamar
MNU head coach Rocky Lamar
Men's Basketball - Sat, Jan. 14, 2012
OLATHE, Kan. - MidAmerica Nazarene head coach Rocky Lamar would need just one opportunity to claim his 600th career coaching win as the Pioneers knocked off visiting Missouri Valley, 69-57, Saturday afternoon in the Heart of America Athletic Conference Men's Basketball Game of the Week in the Cook Center. Box Score | Postgame Quotes

Lamar became the 10th active coach in the NAIA to reach the impressive milestone in his 26th season at MNU, boosting his overall record to 600-307 (.662).

With the highest-scoring team in the conference matched up against one of the best defensive teams, the first half was a physical battle that saw the Pioneers take a one-point advantage into the intermission. A short jumper in the lane by Lukas Weigel with 3:24 in the opening stanza gave the Pioneers a 28-20 lead, but the Vikings finished the half on a 9-2 run as David Smith scored all six of his points down the stretch.

The momentum claimed by the Vikings (7-10, 3-3 HAAC) headed into the break was quickly seized by the Pioneers (12-7, 6-1 HAAC) as the second half got underway. Jacob French scored on the opening possession of the half before Conner Langrehr scored 8-straight points to cap off a 10-0 run for the first double-digit lead of the game.

The MNU lead hung around 11 points for most of the half before a late surge put the game away and allowed the home fans a chance to begin the celebrations in anticipation of the milestone victory. Langrehr put the exclamation point on a 8-0 run with a steal and transition bucket as the margin stretched to 67-48 with 2:15 remaining.

Lost in the festivities was another dominating performance in the paint for sophomore Luke Thomas, who posted team-high totals of 15 points and 16 rebounds for his third-straight double-double. Nick Syrie had 12 points and 4 assists while Rustin Dowd added 11 points and 4 assists. The Pioneers were an efficient 30-of-53 (.566) from the floor despite committing 23 turnovers and making just 1-of-7 three-point attempts.

Michael Connor led all scorers with 27 points to go along with 8 rebounds and 3 steals for Missouri Valley, which was limited to just 29.7 percent (19-of-64) shooting including a 2-for-17 clip (.118) from beyond the arc. Three players added six points while Bryan Corley matched Connor with 8 rebounds.

Both teams hit the road on Thursday, January 19 with Missouri Valley visiting Avila while MNU squares off with conference co-leader Evangel to start the final week of the opening round of conference play.