Photo by Dale Grosbach Photography
ST. LOUIS – Park University (Mo.) head men's basketball coach Jason Kline collected career victory No. 300 Thursday (Feb. 27), beating Missouri Baptist University 94-78 behind double-doubles from Xavielle Brown and John Kotsanos, who helped hold off four Spartans in double figures at the Petty Sports and Recreation Complex in St. Louis.
Brown was 8-for-8 at the free-throw line, ending with 31 points and 11 rebounds, while Kotsanos was 5-for-7 at the line and from the floor, scoring 15 points with 10 boards. Kalvin Lewis led Missouri Baptist (8-21, 6-13) with 21 points, while Park (15-11) had Josh Ross (16 points) and Denzell Cook (15 points) also in double digits.
The win keeps Park fourth in the AMC at 13-6 after Lyon beat Mid-Continent to lock up the AMC tournament's No. 3 seed. MBU is now in a three-way seventh-place tie with William Woods and Mid-Continent at 6-13.
Park was down in the early minutes during Kline's 300th win, falling behind 7-2 when Stanley Eboh scored in the paint after rebounding a miss by Lewis with 7:13 left in the first half. The Pirates answered with a 12-2 run to the 13:28 mark, going up 14-9 when Kotsanos pulled down Corey McKinney's miss and Brown converted on the other end to make it a five-point game.
"The last two games, we've had slow starts," Kline said. "But tonight I thought we did a better job of withstanding it and making a run. We were also a lot better rebounding tonight."
The Pirates stretched a double-digit lead to 13 points with 9:54 before halftime when Marcus Johnson drained a three after an offensive board by Kotsanos, and the lead grew to 14 before MBU ended the first half on a 5-0 run, sending Park to the break in front 48-39.
Park led by as many as 16 in the second half, going up 84-68 with 3:49 to play on Cook's lay-in, and the lead was 10 points or more for the final 13:56 after Lewis had MBU within eight points, 60-52, with 14:04 to play.
"To get to 300 isn't really an individual accomplishment, and there are a lot of guys with a lot more wins," Kline said. "But we've had great student-athletes at both Indiana Tech and at Park, and you have to share something like this with all of them."
Park was 49.2 percent on 30-of-61 from the floor in the game, including 15-of-30 (50 percent) in the first half. The Pirates were also 14-for-15 at the foul line in the second period, and Park outrebounded MBU 43-31. Chris Buzzell and Lau'Ren Jones each had 12 points for MBU, and Jahmari Gordon had 10.
The Pirates host Hannibal-LaGrange University (4-23, 4-15) Saturday at 4 p.m., celebrating senior day on Alumni Appreciation Day (www.park.edu/alumni) at Breckon Sports Center. The game will air on the Pirate Sports Network at www.parkathletics.com.