CMU Secures Two Wins Against Missouri Valley
MARSHALL, MO - The Missouri Valley College men's and women's basketball welcomed Central Methodist University to the Burns Athletic Complex Thursday evening for Courtwarming. The Lady Vikings hung tough with Central Methodist before falling late 84-68, while the men's team nearly pulled off a late-game comeback, but fell to CMU 76-72.
Central Methodist got out quickly against the Lady Vikings, scoring the game's first six points, and limiting MVC to just five points in the game's first 11 minutes. After finding themselves down by 20 points, the Lady Vikings started to make their comeback. The Lady Vikings would chop the lead down to 14 points after Sophomore Center Samantha Kixmiller made two of her eight points. The Lady Eagles quickly worked the lead back to 18 points, but the Lady Vikings scored the last seven points of the first half to go into the locker room trailing by a 35-24 score. The Lady Vikings ended the half by making six out of nine shots, including two three-pointers and one three-point play. Defensively the Lady Vikings forced CMU to turn the ball over eight times in the first half.
The Lady Eagles started the second half, much in the same way they did in the first half by quickly adding five points to their lead, making the score 41-25 with just over two minutes gone in the half. The two teams traded buckets over the next few minutes, until CMU built up their largest lead to 55-35 with 13:30 remaining in the game. The Lady Vikings battled back, and went on an 11-0 run over the next four minutes, which was capped off by Junior Forward Brielle Martinez hitting two of her six points. Central Methodist answered the Viking run by stretching the lead to 60-48 with just over nine minutes left in the game. Again, the Lady Vikings responded by going on a 7-0 run to cut the CMU lead to just five points. However, the five point deficit would be as close as the Lady Vikings could get. CMU eventually built their lead back to double-digits with less than five minutes remaining, and held off MVC the rest of the way. CMU went on to win the game 84-68.
Leading the way for MVC was Freshman Guard Rayna Smith who had 17 points, five rebounds and two assists. Junior Forward Gabi Morales finished with 15 points, six rebounds and four blocked shots. Senior Guard Sami Jackson added 10 points. The Lady Vikings show over 53-percent in the second half. Defensively the Lady Vikings came up with five steals, four blocked shots, and 11 turnovers.
With the loss MVC falls to 7-20 overall and 4-11 in HAAC play. Central Methodist, which is receiving votes in the NAIA Women's Coaches' Top 25 Poll, improves to 21-5 overall and 10-5 in conference play.
In the men's game, the Vikings came out and took control early in the ball game. After the two teams traded baskets through the first seven minutes of play, the Vikings eventually grabbed an 18-13 at the 12-minute mark off Sophomore Kevin Stander's only three points of the game. CMU responded by scoring the next five points to tie the game up for the fourth time in the early stages of the first half, but the Vikings never let the Eagles grab the lead. MVC eventually led by as many as five points in the closing minutes of the first half, and went into the halftime break with a 37-34 lead. The Vikings shot well in the first half, hitting over 53-percent of their shots, while out-rebounding CMU by a 17-14 margin.
The Vikings started the second half by scoring the first points, thanks to two of Junior Jim Thomas' three points, to push their lead back up to 39-34. CMU eventually broke through, and grabbed its first lead since the 15-minute mark in the first half, by taking a 46-45 lead with just over 14-minutes remaining in the game. The Eagles built their lead to five points just minutes later, but the Viking put together a short run. A 7-0 run by MVC gave them the lead back with 9:30 left to play when Junior Law Brown sank two free throws to make the score 55-53 in favor of the Vikings. The two teams traded baskets until CMU took the lead for good at the seven minute mark. CMU went on a 16-3 run over a nearly six minute stretch late in the second half to extend the lead to 73-62 with just over a minute remaining. The Vikings were able to knock that lead down to just three points with 23-seconds remaining off a Brown put-back, but that's as close as the Vikings would get in the 76-72 defeat.
Leading the way for MVC was Junior Kendall Hays who had 14 points and seven rebounds. Brown finished with 12 points and nine rebounds, while Freshman Jordan Epps added 12 points. The Vikings shot over 47-percent as a team, and forced CMU to turn the ball over 14 times.
The loss drops MVC to 9-18 overall and 4-11 in HAAC play. Central Methodist improves to 16-11 overall and 9-6 in conference play.
Next up for the MVC basketball teams is a home doubleheader on the road at MidAmerica Nazarene University Saturday. Women's tip-off is scheduled for 2 p.m., men's tip-off at 4 p.m. Back on Jan. 12 MNU won in a triple overtime thriller in the men's game 111-109, while the MNU women's team won 74-50. MNU men's team is currently ranked No. 22, while the women's team is ranked No. 9 in NAIA Division I Basketball.