NIXA, Mo. -- The Nixa Eagles began their own invitational tournament with a rousing 78-61 victory over the Columbia Hickman Kewpies, as Austin Ruder and Jalen Norman led the host team to an opening round win in the 85th Nixa Invitational.
Hickman, which featured a host of deadly three point shooters led by Jimmy Whitt, hung in with the Eagles in the first quarter and only trailed Nixa 20-17 at the end of one quarter of play. The second quarter saw the Eagles increase their lead as they outscored Hickman 15-9 to take a 35-26 lead at halftime. Kameron Bundy was held largely in check in the first half, as the Columbia Hickman defense applied tremendous pressure on the Drury University signee (though Bundy would take revenge on a thunderous put-back dunk in the second half).
As is the case with many Nixa opponents, the Kewpies from Columbia ran out of steam as Jalen Norman and Austin Ruder led the Eagles in a tremendous second half offensive showing. Nixa would put 43 points on the board in the second half while holding Columbia Hickman to only 35 second half points.