WEST PLAINS, Mo. – The Missouri State University-West Plains Grizzly Basketball team scored one of it’s most dramatic victories in program history Tuesday night, Jan. 17.
After being down by 15 points in the first half, the Grizzlies (15-5) came back in the second to defeat the No. 2 junior college team in the nation, the Indian Hills Community College Warriors of Ottumwa, Iowa, 85-68 before an enthusiastic crowd at the West Plains Civic Center arena. The loss was the Warriors’ first of the season and now leaves them with a 19-1 record.
“I was proud of how we answered the bell in the second half, erased their lead and executed,” Grizzly Basketball Head Coach Yancey Walker said. “We were able to methodically put them away.”
Down 31-42 at halftime, the Grizzlies turned the game around by being patient on offense and challenging the Warriors on defense.
“We played pretty stagnant in the first half,” Walker explained. “We were on our heels, fumbling the basketball and reacting slowly. We were rushing shots and playing right into their hands. They controlled the entire first half.
“But Miles Gatewood and Kevin Nelson did a good job of controlling our offense in the second half. We were much more patient, and we got the looks we needed,” the coach added. “Holding them to under 30 points in the second half was pretty impressive. We challenged shots and made them score five-on-five instead of in transition like they were able to in the first half.”
Sophomore Gage Wooten led the Grizzlies in scoring with 28 points, followed by sophomores Nelson with 16 and Farbod Farman with 12.
“It’s easy to point to Gage as the leading scorer. He did a lot of good things, but we had a lot of people go above and beyond,” Walker said. “Kevin had 16 points in the second half, and Farbod finished the night with 12 points. His defense was huge, as was Kervin Rameau’s. Also, Nate Simniok played almost the entire game and played as tough as anyone.”
The Warriors were led on the scoreboard by Gary Ricks, Jr., with 14 points and Jameel McKay with 10.
The Grizzlies will face another tough test this weekend when they host Region 16 arch rival Three Rivers Community College of Poplar Bluff, Mo., in the annual homecoming game. Action begins at 7 p.m. at the civic center arena, with the 2012 homecoming king and queen being crowned at halftime.
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.