MVC Basketball Teams Split with Benedictine
MARSHALL, MO -- The Missouri Valley College men's and women's basketball teams hosted Benedictine College at the Burns Athletic Complex Monday evening for a Heart of America Athletic Conference double-header. The Lady Vikings played the No. 21 Lady Ravens tough, but fell short in a 68-57 defeat. The MVC men's team secured the first conference home win of the season with a 70-59 victory over the Ravens.
The Lady Vikings played against their third Nationally ranked opponent in a row and got off to a quick start against No. 21 Benedictine. After the Lady Ravens scored the game's first two points, MVC went on an 11-2 run capped off by a Senior Guard Lindsi Jackson field goal giving the Lady Vikings an 11-4 lead. Despite the Lady Ravens getting within five points around the 12-minute mark, the Lady Vikings were able to extend their lead to double-digits multiple times in the first half, the latest at just under seven minutes when Forward Samantha Kixmiller scored one of her five points to give MVC a 21-11 lead. Benedictine responded from there, ending the half on a 15-1 run, giving the Lady Ravens a 26-22 halftime lead. MVC kept Benedictine to just 25-percent shooting, while outrebounding the Lady Ravens by a 28-19 advantage.
Benedictine started the second half by scoring the first four points to build up a nine point lead, but MVC was able to put together a six point run of their own. The run was capped by Senior Forward Cara Clark scoring two of her nine points to make it a 31-28 Lady Raven lead at the 15-minute mark. The three point deficit would be as close as the Lady Vikings would get, as Benedictine quickly stretched their lead out to 43-33 at the 11-minute mark. The Lady Vikings would cut the Benedictine lead to six points with just over four minutes remaining, but Benedictine did not let the Lady Vikings any closer, eventually pulling away for the 68-57 victory.
Leading the way for MVC was Freshman Guard Rayna Smith with a career high 17 points to go along with three rebounds and two assists. Clark grabbed 10 rebounds to go with her nine points. The Lady Vikings dominated in rebounding, grabbing 52 boards compared to Benedictine's 36. Also, the Lady Vikings kept the Lady Ravens to just 33-percent shooting and just 18-percent in three-point shooting.
The loss drops the Lady Vikings to 4-15 overall and 1-6 in HAAC play. No. 21 Benedictine improves to 16-3 overall and 6-1 in the conference, good enough to sit atop the HAAC standings in a tie with No. 11 MidAmerica Nazarene University.
The MVC men's basketball team found themselves quickly in a double-digit hole to being the game. Benedictine raced out to a 16-4 lead in the game's first four minutes, before the Vikings started to make their way back. MVC rattled off a 10-point run of their own to tie the game at 16-16 after Junior Law Brown scored two of his eight points from the free throw line with 11-minutes remaining in the first half. The Vikings eventually grabbed a two point lead near the end of the first half, but Benedictine was able to go into the halftime break leading by a 29-28 score. The Vikings were able to force six Benedictine turnovers in the half.
To begin the second half, the two teams traded baskets over the first seven minutes, but from there the Vikings took control of the game. Junior Kendall Hays broke a 39-39 score with a three-point field goal with just under 12-minutes remaining in the game, giving MVC their largest lead to that point. The Vikings would never give up the lead during the rest of the game. MVC eventually built the lead up to 11-points with just under four minutes remaining on a Sophomore Kevin Stander three-pointer, part of his eight point night, giving MVC a 58-47 advantage. Benedictine would close to within eight points with 90-seconds to play, but MVC hit free throws down the stretch and held off the Ravens in the 70-59 victory.
Leading the way for MVC was the HAAC's leading scorer, Freshman Jordan Epps with 24 points, four rebounds, and four assists. Also in double-digits for MVC was Senior James Pope with 10 points. The Vikings beat Benedictine in rebounding by a 38-35 margin and held the Ravens to just 37-percent shooting, while the Vikings sank 44-percent of their shots. The Vikings also had a good shooting night from the perimeter, hitting 9 of 18 three-point attempts.
The win improves the Vikings to 7-12 overall and 2-5 in the HAAC, while Benedictine drops to 12-6 overall and 4-3 in the conference.
The MVC men's and women's basketball teams will play another home double-header Thursday evening at the Burns Athletic Center welcoming in Avila University. Women's game time is set for 5:30 p.m., men's tip-off is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.