WEST PLAINS, Mo. – The Missouri State University-West Plains Grizzly Basketball team gave their fans a great gift on Valentine’s Day last night, Feb. 14 – a 70-46 victory over Region 16 rival State Fair Community College of Sedalia, Mo., at the West Plains Civic Center arena.
The Grizzlies are now 20-7 overall and 5-2 in Region 16 play. State Fair falls to 12-12 overall and 2-4 in region play.
“We did a better job this game of being in the right spot defensively against State Fair,” Grizzly Basketball Head Coach Yancey Walker said. “We were able to make runs simply by putting three or four stops together at a time. We didn’t rebound as well as we should have, but that was really the only glaring statistic that we need to improve.”
The Grizzlies took control of the game in the first half, outscoring the Roadrunners 37-20. In the second period, they continued to expand their lead by outscoring State Fair 33-26.
“State Fair came out fighting for their lives. They were very aggressive on the ball and very physical when they helped on ball screens,” Walker said. “We finally handled that with some presence and with some confidence.”
Overall, the Grizzlies connected on 31 of 57 attempts from the field for 54 percent, two of 10 3-point shots for 20 percent and six of 12 attempts from the charity stripe for 50 percent. They grabbed 38 rebounds, with eight coming from the offensive glass, and they dished out 12 assists while coughing the ball up only nine times. They also had seven blocked shots.
Leading scorer was freshman Miles Gatewood with 14 points, followed by freshman Keaton Jackson with 13 and sophomore Nathane Simniok with 10. Simniok also had 11 rebounds, including two offensive. Jackson grabbed eight rebounds.
“I thought (sophomore) Marin Petric also played well. He had 5 points and four assists but only one turnover,” Walker said. “Our big guys, Nate, Keaton and Farbod Farman, played really well at both ends of the floor. Combined, they had 32 points and 25 rebounds. Keaton was very aggressive to the rim and scored in double figures, Nate collected another double-double, and Farbod shot 90 percent from the floor.”
As a team, the Roadrunners hit 18 of 34 field goal attempts for 33 percent, two of 11 3-pointers for 18 percent and eight of 14 free throws for 57 percent. They also had 19 rebounds and five turnovers. Kenny Chery led the team on the scoreboard with 11 points, followed by Alfonso Houston with 10.
Next up for the Grizzlies is a road contest against Arkansas Baptist College at 4 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 18, in Little Rock, Ark. They will then close out the regular season at home with a 7 p.m. game Feb. 23 against Northeast Mississippi Community College from Booneville, Miss., and a 7 p.m. contest Feb. 25 against current Region 16 leader Moberly Area Community College of Moberly, Mo. Both games will be in the civic center arena.
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.