MVC Basketball Wraps Up Season at Avila University
MARSHALL, MO -- The Missouri Valley College men's and women's basketball teams finished the 2012-2013 regular season with a trip to Kansas City and a doubleheader with Avila University. The Lady Vikings dropped a tough back-and-forth game 62-59. The men's team was knocked off by Avila 80-68.
The Lady Vikings got out quickly against Avila scoring the game's first four points, all of which came from Junior Forward Gabi Morales. Avila quickly responded by going on a 10-2 run over the next five minutes to grab a 10-6 lead. The Lady Eagles eventually extended their lead to 19-12 near the midway point of the first half, before MVC put together a small run. The Lady Vikings responded with a 9-2 run of their own to tie the game up at 21-21 as Freshman Guard Rayna Smith connected on a two-point field goal. From there the two teams traded baskets before Avila went into the halftime break with a 33-29 lead. The Lady Vikings put the clamps on the Avila offense at times during the first half, limiting the Lady Eagles to just 32-percent shooting and forcing 11 turnovers.
MVC got off to a quick start in the second, again scoring the first four points to tie the game up at 33-33 just moments after halftime. Despite tying the game up early in the second half, the Lady Vikings could not gain a lead over Avila, as the Lady Eagles maintained at least a four point lead through the midway point of the half. The Lady Vikings finally broke through and grabbed the lead at the 9:20 mark when Senior Guard Sami Jackson hit two of her four points to give MVC a 42-41 lead. The two teams would trade the lead through the next seven minutes, until Avila took the lead for good at 56-54. The lady Vikings got back to within one point with one minute remaining, but Avila hit free-throws down the stretch to give MVC a 62-59 defeat.
The Lady Vikings were led by Junior Forward Brielle Martinez who finished with 13 points. Smith added 11 points, while Morales and Senior Center Cara Clark finished with 10 points each.
The loss for the Lady Vikings ends the regular season with an 8-22 overall record and 5-13 mark in Heart of America Athletic Conference play. Avila finishes the season with a record of 6-20 overall and 5-13 in the HAAC. By virtue of a tiebreaker the Lady Vikings have qualified for the HAAC Postseason Tournament as the No. 8 seed. The Lady Vikings will play at conference regular season champion MidAmerica Nazarene University Thursday at 6:00 p.m. MidAmerica Nazarene swept the regular season meetings 74-50 on Jan. 3 and 62-45 on Feb. 16.
In the men's game, the Vikings got off to a quick start by scoring the first five points in the game, capped off by a Freshman Jordan Epps three-point field goal. Avila responded by going on a 13-3 run over the next four minutes to grab a 13-8 lead, but the Vikings quickly countered and retook the lead with just under 11-minutes remaining in the first half at 15-13. The Vikings eventually made it a four-point lead at the six minute mark after a Junior Kendall Hays field goal. From there the two teams traded baskets through the rest of the first half, with Avila taking a 28-26 heading into the halftime break.
Avila opened up the second half by extending their lead to six points just 90-seconds into the half, but MVC responded and quickly grabbed the lead. The Vikings went on a 7-0 run capped off by Senior David Smith converting a three-point play at the 16:39 mark. Avila took the lead back on their next possession, and were able to build up a 57-50 lead with just over eight minutes remaining in the game. The Vikings worked that deficit to just one point with 5:30 remaining in the game, but that would be as close as MVC would get. Avila was able to hold off the Vikings late, handing MVC an 80-68 defeat.
The Vikings were led by Epps, the HAAC's leading scorer, who finished with 17 points. Also in double-figures were Senior James Pope and Smith, each finishing with 12 points, and Hays who finished with 10 points. The Vikings forced 20 Avila turnovers, and MVC collected 15 offensive rebounds.
The loss ends the Vikings' season with a 9-21 overall mark, and 4-14 record in the HAAC. Avila improves to 10-18 overall and 5-13 in conference play.