‘The game got away from us’: Hawks suffer GLVC setback to Prairie Stars
QUINCY — The downcast expression covering Malik Hardmon’s face told the story.
So did his words.
“The game got away from us, and we paid for it,” he said.
The 6-foot-6 senior forward on the Quincy University men’s basketball team did not mince words or offer excuses following Saturday’s 84-74 Great Lakes Valley Conference loss to the University of Illinois-Springfield at Pepsi Arena.
Hardmon did his share, scoring 22 points and hauling in a season-high 13 rebounds, but Max Kunnert-led UIS kept Quincy at arm’s length most of the game in handing the Hawks a setback that damaged QU’s postseason hopes.
Kunnert scored a game-best 33 points, which included the sophomore collecting four of his five 3-pointers and 22 of his points in the second half.
Quincy, which has dropped five of its last seven games, now finds itself trying to hang on to one of eight spots for the GLVC postseason tournament, scheduled for March 2-5 at Lindenwood’s Hyland Arena in St. Charles, Mo.
“This would have been a good win for us,” Hardmon said. “We made a lot of bad decisions, but we’re a tight-knit team and we’ll pick each other up.”
Quincy is now 13-11 overall and 9-7 in the GLVC. The Hawks tied with Illinois-Springfield (15-9) and Southwest Baptist (17-7) for fourth place in the GLVC, but they are fifth in the point rating system the league uses to determine the GLVC Tournament field.
The Hawks have four GLVC games remaining, three against teams currently in the top eight.
“I really don’t understand it ,” QU coach Steve Hawkins said of the point rating system. “It would be a lot easier to understand if it was just the standings.”
His solution to the conundrum?
“Just win the next game,” Hawkins said. “That’s all we can do.”
That next game is 7:30 p.m. Thursday against William Jewell at Pepsi Arena. William Jewell (13-12, 10-7 GLVC) lost to conference-leading Indianapolis on Saturday 64-60. QU defeated William Jewell 67-66 in early January in Liberty, Mo., a game in which it led more than 28 minutes.
Saturday, the Hawks led for less than six minutes.
“I thought the game started to get away from us about midway through the first half,” Hawkins said. “We just weren’t executing defensively, and I don’t know why. We just weren’t.”
Although QU managed to close within 35-28 at halftime, UIS reclaimed command early in the second half. The Prairie Stars spent the majority of the final 20 minutes leading by 11 to 17 points. The closest QU got during the final 10 minutes was nine points, the last time at 76-67 with a little more than two minutes remaining.
“The game got out of hand early in the second half,” Hardmon said. “We made a lot of mistakes.”
Paul Zilinskas (12), Jamaurie Coakley (11) and Zion Richardson (10) also scored in double figures for Quincy. Zilinskas added eight rebounds.
Jack Weber (13) and Michael Wright (13) backed Kunnert’s big night in the scoring column. Kunnert also led UIS in rebounding with eight. Weber was credited with eight assists.
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