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Jan. 21, 2013

(Poplar Bluff)  After dominating the first twenty minutes Saturday at Poplar Bluff, the Missouri State University-West Plains Grizzlies took their foot off the gas peddle, and it nearly cost them the game. But a last second defensive stand gave the Grizzlies an 81-78 Region 16 win over the Three Rivers Raiders in front of a frenzied crowd at the Bess Activity Center.

The win evens MSU-West Plains at 1-1 in region play while the Raiders fell to 0-4.

After falling behind 5-0 to start the game, the Grizzlies broke lose from an 8-8 tie and raced to a 46-27 halftime lead. The Grizzlies dominated the rebounding while Three Rivers played without their star, 6-9 sophomore Ibrahim Djambo, for the last 9 minutes of the first half after picking up his third foul.

Jonathan Tshibuy and Keaton Jackson set the pace for the Grizzlies. Jackson, a 6-9 sophomore from Vancouver, Washington, had a double-double finishing with 11 points and 11 rebounds. But the star of the game was freshman Jonathan Tshibuy, who also recorded a double-double of 18 points and 18 rebounds.

The Raiders stormed back in the second half on the play of reserve guards Eli Sample and Ayinde Spreewell, who combined for 31 points.

The Grizzly lead, which was 20 early in the second half, got smaller and smaller, and was finally reduced to 3 with 10 seconds to go in the game. But the Grizzly defense locked down and prevented a last second shot from drawing iron and the win was in the books for the Grizzlies.

The victory was just the second for the Grizzlies at Poplar Bluff in the last 8 seasons.

It will be a busy week for the Grizz as they host State Fair Tuesday night and the Quakerdale Prep Eagles from Iowa on Friday. Saturday night will be the 10th annual Grizzly Trivia Night fundraiser at the West Plains Civic Center.

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