WEST PLAINS, Mo. – The Missouri State University-West Plains Grizzly Basketball team will take a 17-2 record and a two-game winning streak into its rematch Wednesday night against No. 3 Indian Hills Community College in Joe Paul Evans Arena at the West Plains Civic Center.
At this past weekend’s Hirsch Feed & Farm Supply Classic at the civic center, the No. 24 Grizzlies defeated No. 7 Motlow State Community College from Lynchburg, Tennessee, 94-82, and Sunrise Christian Academy of Wichita, Kansas, 104-92.
Grizzly Basketball Head Coach Chris Popp said it took a total team effort to defeat both opponents. “These were definitely team wins. We were short-handed and it took everyone who stepped on the court to get it done,” he explained.
Against Motlow Friday, the Grizzlies jumped out to an early lead and maintained it throughout the remainder of the game. “It was one of those games where every time they started to make a run our guys responded,” Popp said.
“We came into the game prepared, and the guys did a great job following the game plan,” he added. “Motlow does a lot of specific things to be successful, and our guys took them away. For example, they rely heavily on the three, and we did a good job guarding the line. Offensively, their unique zone caused a lot of problems for us last year, but our guys handled it this time around.
“I’m really happy for our guys. They had a lot of adversity with injuries and foul trouble, and they stepped up and overcame that to beat a top 10 team,” the coach said.
Freshman forward Dontell Brown recorded his first double-double with 22 points and 10 rebounds. He was followed by freshman guard Eric Lovett with 21 points and eight rebounds; redshirt freshman guard Radshad Davis with 14 points, five rebounds and five assists; sophomore point guard Ricky Torres with 13 points 12 assists and six rebounds; and freshman point guard Jodhe Campbell with 11 points, four rebounds and three assists.
“Dontell is showing what we’ve seen in practice and in spurts all year,” Popp said. “He is a handful on the block. His effort on the glass was much better, and we need that to continue.
“Radshad sat for most of the first half in foul trouble, but he still ended up with 14 points, five rebounds and five assists. He was huge in the second half,” the coach added. “Ricky continues to learn how to control a game and gets better and better at it.”
SUNRISE CHRISTIAN ACADEMY
Against Sunrise Saturday, the Grizzlies found themselves battling back from a halftime deficit to capture the win. The Grizzlies jumped out to an early 8-point lead over the Buffaloes, but then the Buffaloes went on a run to take a 7-point advantage into halftime.
The teams battled back and forth through much of the second half until the Grizzlies started pulling away in the final two minutes. “That one was a battle until the last two minutes. We had to fight back,” Popp said.
Brown again led the Grizzlies with 25 points and seven rebounds. Davis followed with 23 points, seven rebounds, three assists and three steals. Torres added 22 points, 10 assists and four rebounds. Lovett added 18 points, and Campbell had 9 points, six rebounds and five assists.
“With Yannis (Mendy) and Burone (Edwards) not on the court, Dontell really stepped up,” the coach said. “Radshad had a huge second half when we were struggling. He continues to make winning plays. He comes up with a big board or a big steal. He always finds a way to help us win.”
The Grizzlies will need similar performances, if not better, to beat Indian Hills Wednesday night. “It’s a great challenge to have a legitimate No. 3 coming in,” Popp said. “They’re coming off a couple of big wins (at the Fiesta Bowl Junior College Shootout in Mesa, Arizona). It will be a war.”
Popp also said he would like to thank John Williams and the staff at Hirsch Feed & Farm Supply for sponsoring the tournament this past weekend. “John and Hirsch have been steady supporters of our program. We can’t thank them enough,” the coach said.
For complete statistics of the Grizzlies’ games this season, visit http://stats.njcaa.org/sports/mbkb/2017-18/div1/teams/missouristateuniversitywestplains.
For more information about the Grizzly Basketball program, visit the team’s website or call 417-255-7991.
Stay up to date with Grizzly Athletics and Grizzly Booster Club news by signing up for text alerts at http://remind.com/join/wpgrizz or text “@WPGrizz to 81010.