CHANUTE, Kan. – The Missouri State University-West Plains Grizzly Basketball team started 2013 on a heart-breaking note after falling to ninth ranked Barton County Community College, Great Bend, Kan., 84-82 Tuesday, Jan. 1, in the Sonic Shoot-Out hosted by Neosho County Community College in Chanute, Kan.
The Grizzlies, now 10-5, will face the host team at 4 p.m. today, Jan. 3, in the final day of tournament action.
“We talked before the game that we wanted to make Barton face some adversity,” Grizzly Basketball Head Coach Yancey Walker said. “This was obviously not a defensive struggle; however, our defense on their initial shot was decent. Most of our defensive mistakes came after offensive rebounds. We had to go zone for more of the game than we wanted, and we really struggled rebounding out of it.”
Despite the defensive struggles, the Grizzlies led much of the game. At halftime, they were up 37-36 after leading by as much as 8 points during the first period. The Cougars jumped up by 4 points early in the second period, but the Grizzlies took the lead again and maintained it through a good portion of the second half until the Cougars finally put together an 11-0 run that gave them the lead for good.
“In the locker room after the game, we discussed how losing isn’t acceptable, and we can’t get into moral victories,” Walker said. “The fact remains, however, we played the No. 9 team in the nation to a two-point game.”
As a team, the Grizzlies hit 30 of 59 shots from the field for 50.8 percent, 16 of 32 shots from 3-point range for 50 percent, and six of 13 shots from the free throw line for 46.2 percent. The Grizzlies also had 29 rebounds, including seven offensive, 21 assists, 10 turnovers, six blocks and two steals.
Leading scorer was freshman guard Devaugntah Williams with 24 points, followed by freshman guards Arroyo Edwards with 21 points and Desmond Buerge with 13, and sophomore forward Keaton Jackson with 10. Williams connected on six of 10 3-point attempts, and Edwards hit five of his nine shots from that range. Both Williams and Buerge had five assists each, and Jackson had three blocked shots.
As a team, Barton hit 26 of 59 shots from the field for 44.1 percent, five of 12 3-point attempts for 41.7 percent, and 27 of 38 free throws for 71.1 percent. The Cougars collected 43 rebounds, including 16 offensive, 13 assists, eight turnovers, four blocks and six steals.
Leading scorer was Turon Parker with 20 points, followed by Andell Cumberbatch and Algie Key each with 19 points, and Rapheal Stephens with 10.
After today’s game, the Grizzlies will return home to host the Grizzly New Year’s Classic Friday and Saturday, Jan. 4 and 5, at the West Plains Civic Center. Also competing in the event will be Iowa Western Community College of Council Bluffs, Southern University-Shreveport and Christian Life Academy, Humble, Texas. Iowa Western and Christian Life will play the first game at 5 p.m. Friday, followed by the Grizzlies and Southern at 7. Saturday, Southern and Christian Life will play at five, and Iowa Western will meet the Grizzlies at 7.
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.