POPLAR BLUFF, Mo. – “We let one slip away tonight.”
That’s how Missouri State University-West Plains Grizzly Basketball Head Coach Yancey Walker described his team’s 62-60 heart-breaking loss Saturday night, Feb. 11, to Region 16 arch rival Three Rivers Community College in Poplar Bluff, Mo.
The Grizzlies are now 19-7 overall and 4-2 in Region 16 play.
“We didn’t execute well defensively at all,” Walker said. “We’ve strayed a bit from what made us good earlier in the year. There have been times this season that we’ve put five or six stops in a row together. We didn’t get one when we needed one at Three Rivers.”
The Grizzlies also struggled somewhat offensively. “We missed many opportunities,” the coach said. “We had several shots rim out in the second half, and we weren’t aggressive enough in the first.”
Overall, the Grizzlies shot 25 of 59 from the field for 37 percent, seven of 16 from 3-point range for 44 percent, and nine of 14 from the free throw line for 64 percent. The team also recorded 31 rebounds, eight of which were off the offensive glass, as well as seven assists and 13 turnovers.
Freshman Miles Gatewood led the Grizzlies on the scoreboard with 22 points, 12 of which came off three-pointers. He was followed by sophomores Gage Wooten and Nathane Simniok, who each had 12 points. Wooten and Simniok also had eight rebounds apiece.
The Three Rivers Raiders hit 25 of 56 shots from the field for 44 percent, two of 10 3-pointers for 20 percent, and 10 of 24 free throws for 42 percent. They also recorded 42 rebounds, 11 of which were offensive. They also had 18 assists and 13 turnovers.
Tarius Johnson led the Raiders in scoring with 15 points. He also had seven rebounds and four assists. Ibrahim Djambo and Rudy Harrell each had 10 points. Djambo recorded 12 rebounds and Harrell had six.
The Grizzlies will need to regroup quickly; their next Region 16 contest is Tuesday evening, Feb. 14, against State Fair Community College of Sedalia, Mo., at the West Plains Civic Center. Due to the West Plains High School boys basketball game against Springfield Hillcrest, tipoff between the Grizzlies and Roadrunners is expected about 7:45 p.m.
“No time to sulk,” Walker said of his team. “We have a must win Tuesday at home. It is imperative we get this one.”
For more information about the Grizzly Basketball program, including complete game statistics, visit the team’s website at http://www.wp.missouristate.edu/grizzly/bb.htm or call the Grizzly Basketball office at 417-255-7993.