WEST PLAINS, Mo. – The Missouri State University-West Plains Grizzly Basketball team upped its record to 10-3 after picking up two wins in their own Grizzly Holiday Classic Tournament Friday and Saturday, Dec. 7 and 8, at the West Plains Civic Center arena.
The Grizzlies defeated God’s Academy of Dallas, Texas, 95-30 Friday night and Arkansas Baptist College of Little Rock 74-45 Saturday night. The Grizzlies will close out the fall portion of their season at 4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 15, against the Dodge City Community College Conquistadors in Dodge City, Kan.
Grizzly Basketball Head Coach Yancey Walker said the win against God’s Academy “was a good overall team win, and it was probably what we needed. We’re beat up and we have had to have some guys step up and play different positions based on need. We caught some good fortune because they had to leave three of their better players at home.”
The Grizzlies hit 38 of 56 attempts from the field for 67.9 percent, eight of 19 3-point shots for 42.1 percent and 11 of 16 free throws for 68.8 percent. They also grabbed 25 rebounds, including eight off the offensive glass, dished out 17 assists, and recorded one block and nine steals.
Sophomore forward Kris Frazier led the team in scoring with 21 points. He was followed by freshman guard Desmond Buerge with 16 points, freshmen guards Devaugntah Williams and Delvonte Pierre with 14 points each, and freshman guard Arroyo Edwards with 11 points.
God’s Academy hit eight of 30 shots from the field for 26.7 percent, one of seven 3-point attempts for 14.3 percent and 13 of 18 free throws for 72.2 percent. The team also had 12 rebounds, one assist and one steal.
“In games like this, it is hard to maintain intensity, but I felt as though we did that,” Walker said. “We got a little careless offensively, but we stayed pretty focused defensively.”
As for Arkansas Baptist, Walker said they “continue to be one of the hardest teams to play against because they are so comfortable when the game resembles a fire drill. They also continue to play no matter what the situation is, and that is a credit to their team and their coaching staff.” Walker pointed out Arkansas Baptist is coached by Charles Ripley, a legend in that state.
The Grizzlies had a good first possession to start the game, “then we settled for some jumpers when we could have been attacking the basket,” Walker said. “We didn’t finish the first half very well, and we weren’t super sharp to start the second half. We finally broke the game open by grinding on both ends of the floor. That is when we were able to get the lead to 20 later in the second half. The best part about that is that we did it by attacking the paint and getting stops.”
The Grizzlies connected on 27 of their 49 attempts from the field for 55.1 percent, five of 11 3-point attempts for 45.5 percent and 15 of 24 free throws for 62.5 percent. They also had 27 rebounds, 11 off the offensive board, seven assists, nine turnovers, seven blocks and four steals.
Williams led the team in scoring with 16 points, followed by sophomore forward Keaton Jackson with 14 points and Frazier 10 points. Jackson also had nine rebounds, including four offensive, and two blocks. Frazier grabbed seven rebounds, including three offensive, and had two blocks.
Arkansas Baptist hit 19 of 40 shots from the field for 47.5 percent, three of six 3-point attempts for 50 percent, and two of 11 free throws for 18.2 percent. They also had 26 rebounds, including eight offensive, one assist, and five turnovers. Arthur Gray led the team in scoring with 8 points.
“We have to have some good practices and we need to make some improvements going into Christmas break,” Walker said. “Dodge City in Dodge won’t be easy, and we’ll have to make sure our focus is where it needs to be.”
For more information about the Grizzly Basketball program, visit the team’s website at http://wp.missouristate.edu/grizzly/bb.htm or call the Grizzly Basketball office at 417-255-7993.