GRIFFITH | Watching methodical Munster play basketball is like watching routine surgery. Follow the plan and the patient walks.
It's been that way all season for The Times No. 1 Mustangs: Work the ball around. Find the open man. Take good shots. A miss? Then crash the boards, get the rebound, and repeat steps 1-3.
Friday night, doctor and patient both were doing very well as the Mustangs ran away from young Griffith in Northwest Crossroads Conference action, 54-32, holding the hosts to three field goals and 12 second-half points.
"Our defense has been our staple all year," coach Mike Hackett said. "We did a real good job of not giving up anything in the paint. We weren't the sharpest tonight, offensively, but I can live with that when your team buckles down at the defensive end."
Mike Schlotman was near-unstoppable with team highs of 23 points, eight rebounds and six assists for Munster (18-0, 5-0). Nate Bubash chipped in 12 points.
"All week at practice, my shot felt good," Schlotman said. "When tournament time comes, I want us to be focused the whole game. Most of all, I just want to win."
The win was Munster's 10th straight over Griffith and the 108th in the program's last 118 games.
Schlotman had 11 of Munster's 17 points in the second quarter for a 32-20 lead at the break that grew to 19 in the third quarter.
"Munster is a schooled program. They run their stuff," said Griffith coach Gary Hayes. "To beat them, you're going to need speed out front to get them out of their rhythm -- and you've got to close out all the way when they shoot from the perimeter."
Griffith (6-8, 1-4) had lost four games by five points or less, due mostly to poor foul shooting. Friday night, the Panthers had spacing from the field, but still missed 36 of their 45 field-goal attempts.
Flint Powell led Griffith with eight points, Ben Parish had seven and 6-foot-4 freshmen brothers Tremmell and Anthony Murphy combined for five blocked shots.
"About the last four weeks, our practices have been becoming more intense," Hayes noted. "We'd be sitting here at 10-4 if we just made free throws."
Both teams will be heard from again next season with Munster carrying only three seniors and Griffith's roster consisting of two seniors and three freshmen.