WEST PLAINS, Mo. – The Missouri State University-West Plains Grizzly Basketball team will go into its third Region 16 game of the season Tuesday night, Jan. 29, with a 14-9 record after soundly defeating Quakerdale Prep, New Providence, Iowa, 94-48 Friday night, Jan. 25, at the West Plains Civic Center.
The Grizzlies’ opponent Tuesday night at the civic center will be Mineral Area College, Park Hills, Mo. The Cardinals suffered their first Region 16 loss of the season Saturday night, Jan. 26, at the hands of State Fair Community College in Sedalia. The Cardinals are now 3-1 in region play, while the Grizzlies are 1-2.
Grizzly Basketball Head Coach Yancey Walker said he expected a closer game with Quakerdale’s Eagles, since the Grizzlies had to go into overtime Nov. 30 to beat Quakerdale at the JUCO Elite 8 Tournament in Coffeyville, Kan.
“We really didn’t expect this big of a point differential with this team,” he said. “They have played a lot of other two-year schools pretty tough.
“The difference tonight was our focus and our willingness to make the extra pass,” he added. “We really took a step forward in those categories. The question is, can we maintain that focus?”
The Grizzlies took control of the game early, leading 41-13 at halftime, and they never let up in the second half, outscoring the Eagles 53-35.
“Our shot selection was good most of the night,” Walker said. “We didn’t force threes, and by not forcing them, we got a lot of really good looks at the basket by allowing our teammates to create for us.”
The Grizzlies hit 32 of 60 attempts from the field for 53.3 percent, 14 of 28 shots from 3-point range for 50 percent and 16 or 21 shots from the free throw line for 76.2 percent.
They were led on the scoreboard by freshman guard Delvonte Pierre, who hit six threes on his way to a 24-point night. He was followed by freshman guard Desmond Buerge with 19 points and freshman forward Malik London and freshman guard Devaugntah Williams each with 13 points.
The Grizzlies also had 46 rebounds, 16 assists, 10 turnovers and seven blocks. Sophomore forward Keaton Jackson had 16 rebounds and four blocks and freshman guard Jon Tshibuy had 10 rebounds and four assists.
Quakerdale hit 15 of 56 shots from the field for 26.8 percent, four of 22 shots from 3-point range for 18.2 percent, and 14 of 18 free throws for 77.8 percent. They were led by Dante Bailey with 19 points and Darrion Strong with 13. The Eagles also recorded 22 rebounds, four assists and five turnovers.
“We have a big test Tuesday night,” Walker said, pointing out Saturday’s loss also broke the Cardinals’ five-game winning streak. “We expect them to have a renewed energy and resolve when they arrive.”
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.