POPLAR BLUFF, Mo. – The Missouri State University-West Plains Grizzly Basketball team will take a 17-11 record into tonight’s contest against College of Faith, West Memphis, Ark., after defeating Three Rivers College 83-75 Saturday night, Feb. 15, in the Bess Activity Center in Poplar Bluff, Mo.
Tonight’s contest will tip off at 7 p.m. in Joe Paul Evans Arena at the West Plains Civic Center.
With Saturday’s win, the Grizzlies upped their Region 16 record to 3-4 and are ranked third in the standings behind top ranked State Fair Community College, Sedalia, Mo., (20-6 overall, 7-0 region) and second place Moberly Area Community College, Moberly, Mo., (21-7 overall, 5-2 region). Mineral Area College, Park Hills, Mo., (14-12 overall, 2-5 region) is fourth and Three Rivers (15-12 overall, 1-7 region) is fifth.
Grizzly Basketball Head Coach Yancey Walker was pleased to see his team pick up a key region win Saturday. “We have struggled to fight through tough situations recently,” he said. “We found ourselves down 5 points in the first half, and we responded with an 8-3 run. We got down 5 points again in the second half, but once we got the lead we didn’t relinquish it. That is hard to do at Three Rivers, but these guys did a great job of executing in the half court, attacking in transition and attacking their press.”
The Grizzlies hit 29 of their 58 shots from the field for 50 percent, four of 10 attempts from 3-point range for 40 percent and 21 of 31 shots from the free throw line for 67.7 percent. They also recorded 35 rebounds, 12 assists, six steals, six blocks and 14 turnovers.
“Outside of our turnovers, we played a pretty complete game,” Walker said. “We had more points off of turnovers (15-10), we had more second chance points (18-10), we had more points in the paint (30-28), and defensively, we rebounded 71 percent of their missed shots instead of being in the low 60 percentile like we had been.”
Freshman forward Justin Jamison led the Grizzly attack, recording a double double with a team-leading 25 points and 11 rebounds. He also had three blocked shots. Sophomore guard Arroyo Edwards followed with 18 points and four assists, and freshman guard Jeremiah Jackson added 17 points, three rebounds and two assists to the stat book. Sophomore guard Devaugntah Williams also had six assists and six rebounds to go with his 7 points, Walker pointed out.
The Raiders connected on 26 of their 62 attempts from the field for 41.9 percent, two of 11 attempts from 3-point range for 18.2 percent, and 21 of 28 shots from the free throw line for 75 percent. They also recorded 33 rebounds, 10 assists, eight steals, two blocks and 12 turnovers. Leading scorers were Torry Butler with 20 points, Jared White 18, Uzonna Akazi 14 and Jake Coddington 13.
“We did a much better job on Jared White. He had 29 points in our first meeting Jan. 18,” Walker said. “We simply were better defensively and in most cases we held them to one shot, even in our zone.”
The Grizzlies have one more regular season contest after tonight’s game, and it will be at home Saturday, Feb. 22, against Moberly. Tip off is 7 p.m. The Region 16 postseason tournament will be held Feb. 28 and March 1 at Jefferson College in Hillsboro, Mo.
For more information about the Grizzly Basketball team, including complete statistics from the games, visit wp.missouristate.edu/grizzly/bb/.