Not even a nifty Christmas sweater could save Union this time.
Rolla (6-1) left Union Tuesday night with a 73-42 win over the Wildcats (2-7).
Union Head Coach Chris Simmons knew the Bulldogs would bring in a squad which would test his team to the limit.
“Rolla is 6-1 right now with their only loss to state-ranked Ozark,” Simmons said. “Their size really bothered us. Their guards were really long and their bigs were big and athletic.”
Rolla jumped out to a 25-10 lead after one quarter and was up 44-22 at the half. It was 64-36 after three quarters.
“Offensively, we actually had very good movement, but turned the ball over way too much if you want to have a chance against anybody,” Simmons said.
Simmons said there were positives.
“We also shared the ball again and scored off of passes rather than one-on-one offensive play. We had 17 turnovers which is as many made shots as we had on the game.”
After beating one Phelps County team last week, the Wildcats struggled in the game against the bigger school.
“It was very disappointing because of the way we handled St. James’ pressure just last Friday,” Simmons said. “Defensively and on the glass, we were very flat from the very beginning. Rolla is a very good team but we gave them a lot of easy looks and second chance opportunities. When you pair that with the volume of turnovers we had, it is going to be a long night.”
What troubled Simmons the most was that Union fell behind early and didn’t fight back.
“We played with very little fight tonight,” he said. “Despite our record, I have never felt like this team has played with no fight until last night. I think anybody can live with whatever the result is as long as you leave it all out on the floor, but we failed to do that for the first time all year.”
The bright spot offensively for Union was the play of Trevor Kelly, who netted 25 of the 42 points. He hit one of Union’s three three-point baskets and went 4-7 from the free-throw line.
Caleb Mabe and Kale Crawford scored four points apiece.
Jacob Towell, Derek Foster and Blake Dickinson each scored three points. Chase Mehler chipped in with two points.
Josh Pritchett was the top scorer for Rolla with 23 points. He knocked down one three-point basket and went 4-5 from the free-throw line.
Coby Martin was next with 13 points.
Alec Buhr netted 10 points.
Other Rolla scorers were Davie Pound with nine, Nick Janke with eight, Aaron Cunningham with five, Brown (first name unavailable) with three and Blaize Klossner with two.