MVC Basketball Teams Fall to MidAmerica Nazarene

Posted: Jan 13, 2013 10:54 AM

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MARSHALL, MO -- The Missouri Valley College men's and women's basketball teams welcomed in MidAmerica Nazarene University to the Burns Athletic Complex Saturday afternoon for a Heart of America Athletic Conference double-header. The Lady Vikings hung tough with No. 11 MNU through the first half of play, but were unable to keep pace in the second half in a 74-50 defeat. The men's team played a marathon three overtime game with MNU, but fell short 111-109.

The Lady Vikings got after the No. 11 ranked Lady Pioneers quickly, scoring eight of the game's first ten points, to take an 8-2 lead five minutes into the contest. The Lady Vikings eventually built up to a seven point lead multiple times in the first half, the latest at 18-11 after Sophomore Center Samantha Kixmiller sank a free-throw attempt with just over nine minutes remaining in the half. MNU responded from that point with a 12-3 run over a nearly five minute stretch to take a 23-21 lead. The Lady Vikings fought back, and eventually took a 27-23 advantage with just under four minutes remaining in the half as Freshman Point Guard Julia Vasquez got all three of her points off a three-point field goal. Despite the late first half lead, the Lady Pioneers made shots down the stretch and took a 32-29 lead into the halftime break. The Lady Vikings limited MNU to just 29-percent shooting from the field and forced 12 Lady Pioneer turnovers.

The Lady Vikings started the second half hoping to keep the pressure on MNU, but the Lady Pioneers started quickly and never looked back. A 20-1 run by MNU in the first seven minutes of the half stretched what was just a three point lead at halftime, into a 53-30 advantage. The Lady Vikings tried to work their way back into the game, going on a 10-3 run of their own over a nearly six minute stretch to cut the MNU lead to 56-40, but the Lady Pioneers never let MVC any closer. The Lady Pioneers stretched their lead to as large as 26 points, eventually coming away with the 74-50 victory.

Leading the way for the Lady Vikings was Senior Center Cara Clark finishing with 12 points and seven rebounds. The Lady Vikings limited MNU to just under 39-percent shooting in the game. MNU attempted 46 free-throws in the game, hitting 33 attempts, while the Lady Vikings attempted just 28 free-throws, knocking down 15 shots.

The loss drops the Lady Vikings to 4-14 overall and 1-5 in HAAC play. No. 11 MNU improves to 16-2 overall and 6-1 in the conference, good enough to sit atop the HAAC standings.

The MVC men's basketball team played one of the longest games in program history Saturday evening. The Vikings came out and played even with MNU in the first half. The two teams traded baskets through much of the half, but eventually, MNU took a 43-42 advantage into the halftime break. The Vikings shot nearly 46-percent in the first half, but MNU was even better shooting just under 62-percent.

Both teams continued their streaky play in the second half, with neither able to build a very large lead. The two teams played even right down to the end of regulation. With just under one minute remaining, Junior Kendall Hays hit a field goal to make it a 80-78 MNU lead. After the Pioneers missed two free throws, Senior James Pope hit a three point attempt to give MVC the lead at 81-80 with 44-seconds remaining in regulation. On the ensuing Pioneer possession, a foul was called, and the Pioneers were able to take an 82-81 lead. With time winding down, Freshman Jordan Epps was fouled, but he made only one of his attempts, and the game went into overtime tied at 82-82.

In the first overtime, the Vikings built up a four point lead with just over three minutes remaining. MNU would fight back, and eventually take a two point lead with just over 30-seconds remaining. Once again, Epps was fouled in the waning seconds, but he was able to hit both free throws to send the game into a second overtime at 93-93.

In the second overtime, MNU scored the first four points to take control of the game. This time, the Vikings worked their way back into the lead, and held a three point advantage after Pope hit two free throws in the closing seconds. A desperation shot by MNU was off the mark, but a long rebound was recovered by the Pioneers and Jason Garretson connected at the buzzer to tie the game up, and send the game into triple overtime at 103-103.

Neither team could get much going in the third overtime, but MNU was able to grab a two point lead with under 30-seconds remaining. Sophomore Kevin Stander was fouled while trying to drive into the lane with less than one second remaining, and the Vikings trailing by two points. Stander missed his first free throw attempt. Stander then missed his second attempt on purpose to try and get MVC one last shot, but the ball bounced over the backboard, giving MNU the ball. MNU ran out the clock, and defeated the Vikings 111-109.

The Vikings were led by Epps who finished with 26 points and four assists. Junior Law Brown had 20 points, with Stander scoring 18 points with five assists. Also in double digits was Pope with 17 points and 10 rebounds, and Junior Lionel Delisca with 13 points. The Vikings last played a triple overtime game in January of 2010, a 94-82 victory over MNU. The Vikings also last topped 100-points in February of 2008 in a 105-104 loss to Evangel.

The Vikings attempted 85 shots in the game, connecting on 40 of them. MVC came down with 40 rebounds, dished out 19 assists, and forced 23 MNU turnovers.

The loss drops the Vikings to 6-12 overall and 1-5 in the HAAC. MNU improves to 14-5 overall and sits atop the HAAC with a 6-1 mark.

The MVC men's and women's basketball teams will play another home double-header Monday evening at the Burns Athletic Center welcoming in Benedictine College. Women's game time is set for 5:30 p.m., men's tip-off is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. The Benedictine women's team is ranked No. 21 in NAIA Division I.

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