WEST PLAINS, Mo. – The Missouri State University-West Plains Grizzly Basketball team made sure it remained atop the Region 16 rankings Saturday, Feb. 16, by defeating the Three Rivers College Raiders, Poplar Bluff, Mo., 77-68 in the annual homecoming game at the West Plains Civic Center.
The Grizzlies (20-9) are now 5-2 in region play and tied for first place with the State Fair Community College Roadrunners (20-7) of Sedalia, Mo., who defeated Moberly Area Community College (21-7) of Moberly, Mo., 86-80 Saturday night in Sedalia. Moberly drops to 4-3 in the region, while the Raiders (13-14) finish region campaign with an 0-8 record.
The Grizzlies will play Moberly Saturday night, Feb. 23, at the civic center in the final regular season game of the year. State Fair will meet Mineral Area College (21-6) of Park Hills, Mo., Saturday, as well. The Cardinals are tied with Moberly for third place in the region with a 4-3 record. The games will determine the final seedings and pairings for the Region 16 Championship Tournament.
As for the homecoming victory Saturday night, Grizzly Basketball Head Coach Yancey Walker said, “we were due for a game like this. It is incredibly hard to maintain the level of focus and concentration needed to go on a winning streak. Our concentration level dropped substantially when we found out that they weren’t at full strength. We were able to do enough to come away with a win.”
For the game, the Grizzlies hit 18 of 46 attempts from the field for 39.1 percent, seven of 17 3-point attempts for 41.2 percent and 34 of 41 free throw attempts for 82.9 percent. They also collected 23 rebounds, seven assists, three blocks and eight steals while committing nine turnovers.
“We did a good job attacking the rim and getting to the free throw line,” Walker said. “We didn’t have very many assists, but we didn’t shoot very well and the baskets we did make were off of penetration.”
Leading scorers for the Grizzlies were freshmen guards Devaugntah Williams, Delvonte Pierre and Arroyo Edwards, who had 20, 13 and 12 points, respectively. Sophomore forward Keaton Jackson, who scored 9 points, grabbed 11 of the team’s 23 rebounds.
The Raiders hit 28 of their 47 attempts from the field for 59.6 percent, seven of their 16 3-point shots for 43.8 percent and five of their eight free throw attempts for 62.5 percent. They also collected 19 rebounds, 10 assists and three steals while committing 13 turnovers. Leading scorers were Eli Sample and Brandon Strickland, each with 12 points.
“We have to find that burning inside that allowed us to play well defensively against Mineral Area, Moberly and State Fair,” Walker said. “Our crowd Saturday was outstanding. We’ll need that same type of help against Moberly Saturday night.”
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.