MVC Teams Sweep Avila University
MARSHALL, MO -- The Missouri Valley College men's and women's basketball teams hosted Avila University at the Burns Athletic Complex Thursday evening for a Heart of America Athletic Conference double-header. The Lady Vikings beat the Lady Eagles, to snap a nine game losing streak with a 55-51 victory. The MVC men's team made it two wins in a row after defeating Avila 64-50
The Lady Vikings kept their composure throughout most of the game to hold off the Lady Eagles. The lady Vikings started the first half on an 11-5 run capped off by a Junior Forward Gabi Morales field goal giving the Lady Vikings a lead within the game's first four minutes. The Lady Eagles would start a run of their own to get the deficit to just four, 17-13 with 8:45 left in the half. MVC stayed ahead of Avila through the entire first half and lead by as many as 11 points. MVC had a five point 25-20 lead at the end of the first half of play. The Lady Vikings defense stepped up in the first half limiting Avila to just 27 percent shooting, including going just 2 for 10 from three-point attempts.
The Lady Vikings started the second half by scoring the first three points to build up an eight point lead, but the Lady Eagles put together a run of their own to bring themselves within two with just over 13-minutes to go in the game. The two teams continued to go back and forth throughout most of the second half with MVC not taking any more than a five point lead. With less than 10-minutes to go in the game Avila tied the game 39-39. Avila went up by two with less than six minutes in the game before MVC regained the lead on a Senior Guard Sami Jackson three pointer and never looked back en route to the 55-51 victory.
Leading the way for MVC was Jackson with 10 points to go along with five rebounds and three assists. Senior Center Cara Clark grabbed 8 rebounds to go with her six points. The Lady Vikings forced Avila into 17 turnovers and grabbed 10 steals to cap off a strong defensive performance on the night. Also, the Lady Vikings kept the Lady Eagles to just 33-percent shooting and just 25-percent in three-point shooting.
The win moves the Lady Vikings to 5-15 overall and 2-6 in HAAC play. Avila drops to 4-12 overall and 2-5 in the conference.
The Missouri Valley College men's basketball team got off to a slow start against Avila Thursday night, finding themselves down by as many as six points within the game's first three minutes at 10-4. From there the Vikings made a comeback, eventually taking the lead for the first time at 16-15 after a Sophomore Kevin Stander two-point field goal with just under 14-minutes left in the half. The Vikings extended their lead to the largest of the first half when Freshman Jordan Epps hit a three pointer with eight minutes remaining to make it a 25-19 game. Both teams would go back and forth through the rest of the first half, with MVC taking a 34-32 lead into halftime. The Vikings were able to step up their defense in the later portions of the half, forcing six Avila turnovers.
Avila took control of the second half early on, turning a two point MVC lead into a two point Avila lead at 40-38 with 12-minutes remaining in the game. From there, the Vikings took things over and went on a 20-0 run that lasted nearly seven minutes. The Vikings took their largest lead of the game at 18 points after Epps hit another field goal around the five minute mark. Junior Jim Thomas led the way for MVC through their long run, scoring seven points. MVC was able to keep the double-digit lead through the rest of the second half, and eventually pull away for a 64-50 victory.
Leading the way for MVC was Epps with 11 points, five assists and three steals. Stander also added 11 points, with Thomas chipping in with 10 points in the game. The Vikings stepped up their defense in the second half, limiting Avila to just 27-percent shooting, and not allowing Avila to hit a three-point attempt in the entire game. The Vikings also forced 13 turnovers and blocked five shots.
The second-straight win improves MVC to 8-12 overall and 3-5 in the HAAC. Avila falls to 7-11 on the season and 2-6 in the conference.
The MVC men's and women's basketball teams will play on the road Saturday afternoon as they travel to Lamoni, Iowa to face Graceland University. Women's game time is set for 2:00 p.m., men's tip-off is scheduled for 4:00 p.m.