MVC Basketball Drops Two at Home to Baker
MARSHALL, MO -- The Missouri Valley College men's and women's basketball teams hosted Baker University at the Burns Athletic Complex Saturday afternoon for a Heart of America Athletic Conference double-header. The Lady Vikings fell to the Lady Wildcats 79-65.
The Lady Wildcats jumped out to an early 4-0 lead over MVC but a free throw by Junior Forward Ebone Brown and two of Junior Forward Gabby Lovelace's four points in the game brought the Lady Vikings to within one just three minutes into the first half. From there the Lady Wildcats went on a 15-5 run that would last almost six minutes, pushing their lead to 22-8 with just under 11-minutes remaining in the half. The Lady Vikings whittled the Baker lead to as few as six points around the seven minute mark, but Baker was able to hit shots in the waning minutes of the half, and went into the break with a 42-30 lead. Despite missing eight of their first nine shots, the Lady Vikings finished the first half shooting just over 36-percent and forced Baker to turn the ball over nine times, while also securing nine offensive rebounds.
Baker started quickly in the second half, scoring eight of the first ten points of the half to extend the lead to 51-32 with just over 14-minutes remaining in the game. The Lady Vikings worked their way back to a single-digit deficit with 8:30 left when Senior Guard Lindsi Jackson hit three of her six points to make it a 59-50 game. The Vikings got even closer, to within eight points after a Freshman Guard Rayna Smith free-throw at 66-58 with four minutes remaining in the game, but Baker would hit free-throws down the stretch and come away with a 79-65 victory.
Leading the way for MVC was Smith who finished with 17 points and five rebounds, the only player in double-figures for the Lady Vikings. The Lady Vikings were able to pull down 15 offensive rebounds, and forced Baker into 17 turnovers. The Lady Vikings shot over 42-percent in the second half, including 40-percent on three-point attempts.
The loss drops the Lady Vikings to 6-17 overall and 3-8 in the HAAC. Baker improves to 14-8 on the season and 8-3 in conference play.
The Baker Wildcats began an early 4-0 lead over the Vikings, until Freshman Jordan Epps pulled MVC within two on a field goal to open up the scoring for the Vikings. Epps scored the Vikings first seven points including a three-point shot that tied the game at 7-7. Baker continued to put the pressure on the Vikings by taking a five point 12-7 lead with just under 16-minutes remaining in the half. MVC took its first lead with 12:58 to go in the first half to make it 16-14. MVC battled with Baker exchanging leads until Baker took the lead 21-20 on a made field goal that took control of the half. The Wildcats ended the half on a 17-8 run and took a 38-27 advantage at the end of one.
Baker started the second half with a free throw attempt to go up 12, but MVC made a 10-2 run over the next four minutes to cut the Wildcat lead to 4 with 14:12 remaining. Baker responded by quickly pushing their lead back up to nine points with 12-minutes remaining in the half. Despite Baker's response a three point field goal by Junior Jim Thomas cut the Baker lead to just three points with 5:30 left in the game, however that would be as close as the Vikings would get as Baker eventually built up as large as a nine point lead in the final minutes of the game, before coming away with a 56-62 win.
Leading MVC was the HAAC's leading scorer Epps who finished with 23 points. Junior Lawrence Brown had his first double-double of the season with 14 points, 10 rebounds, and was 6 of 10 shooting from the field. Thomas contributed 13 points and was 3 for 3 shooting from the arch. The Vikings forced 14 turnovers while limiting Baker to just 33 percent shooting in the second half.
The loss drops the Vikings to 9-13 overall and 4-6 in the HAAC. Baker improves to 12-8 overall and 5-5 in conference play.
The MVC men's and women's basketball teams will next be in action Saturday Feb. 2 on the road at Benedictine College with games at 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. The Benedictine women's team is ranked No. 16 in the latest NAIA Women's Basketball Coaches' Top 25 Poll. Benedictine won the women's game at Missouri Valley back on Jan. 14, 68-57, while the MVC men's team defeated Benedictine 70-59.