(Ottumwa) – The Missouri State University-West Plains Grizzly Basketball team will go into the Thanksgiving holiday break with a 6-3 record after splitting its games at the Bowling RV Classic Friday and Saturday, Nov. 22 and 23, in Ottumwa, Iowa.
On Friday, the Grizzlies defeated Marshalltown (Iowa) Community College 89-80 for the second time in a week but fell to the No. 2 ranked Indian Hills Community College Warriors, the tournament’s hosts, 97-84 in a hard-fought contest.
“I am very proud of how our team competed against Indian Hills,” Grizzly Basketball Head Coach Yancey Walker said. “We played well, outside of the turnovers.” The Grizzlies had 21 miscues in the contest, compared to the Warriors’ 10.
“We executed our game plan well for about 27 or 28 minutes. We were up at halftime and came out and scored the first basket of the second half,” Walker said. “Simply put, they are very explosive offensively. We did a great job on the offensive glass, and that helped keep the game within reach. We just didn’t absorb their second-half run.”
The Grizzlies went into the halftime break with a 45-37 advantage over the Warriors, but Indian Hills’ offense took over in the second half and gave them the advantage they needed to seal a victory.
On the boards, the Grizzlies were two grabs short of the Warriors, 48 to 50, but they had more rebounds off the offensive glass, 14 compared to the Warriors’ 12. Overall, the Grizzlies shot 41.7 percent from the field, hitting 25 of their 60 attempts; connected on five of 13 shots from 3-point range for 38.5 percent; and were 29 of 42 from the free throw line for 69 percent.
Sophomore guard Devaugntah Williams led the Grizzlies in scoring with 23 points, followed by fellow sophomore guards Jonathan Tshibuy with 19 and Arroyo Edwards with 15. Tshibuy also led the team in rebounding with eight grabs, including three offensive rebounds.
Indian Hills was led on the scoreboard by Roderick Bobbitt with 30 points, Lester Medford 16, and Marcus Posey and Quevyn Winter each with 13. Overall, the Warriors hit 32 of 70 shots from the field for 45.7 percent, four of 19 from 3-point range for 21.1 percent and 29 of 40 from the free throw line for 72.5 percent.
“What we did prove in this game is that we can play with anyone in the nation,” Walker said. “What we have to keep working towards is being able to beat everyone in the nation. It is a process and it isn’t easy. That is the challenge we have in front of us.
“But we can’t take anything away from Indian Hills,” the coach added. “They are a good team, and they have blown out at least one top 25 team. They average 111 points per game, and their opponents average 90. We took the fight to a good team,” Walker said.
Against Marshalltown, the Grizzlies’ size and ability to score in the paint made the difference, Walker said. “We also did a better job on their shooters and held them to 13 percent from the three,” he added.
“What it came down to was our play-making ability,” the coach said. “We got to the rim off of penetration pretty regularly and shot pretty well from the free throw line, especially late in the game. We just have to continue to learn how to finish teams off and keep the lead in double digits.”
The Grizzlies hit 33 of 60 shots from the field for 55 percent, four of 13 3-pointers for 30.8 percent and 19 of 30 attempts at the charity stripe for 63.3 percent. Leading scorers were Williams with 31 points, Edwards with 15 and redshirt freshman forward Ed Seay, Jr., with 12.
Marshalltown was 31 of 65 from the field for 47.7 percent and two of 15 from the three for 13.3 percent. Leading scorers were Tyrese Hoxter with 22 points, Triodell Carter 18, Raheim Holloway 14 and Jamal Gatali 11.
The Grizzlies will take the court next weekend, Nov. 29 and 30, at the PARC Thanksgiving Classic hosted by Region 16 rival Three Rivers College at the Gene Bess Activity Center in Poplar Bluff, Mo. They will play ABCD Prep from Dallas, Texas, Nov. 29 and Quakerdale Prep from New Providence, Iowa, Nov. 30.
After a trip to Coffeyville, Kan., Dec. 5-7, to compete in the Coffeyville Resources Juco Elite 8 Tournament hosted by Coffeyville Community College, the Grizzlies will return home to host their own Grizzly Holiday Classic Dec. 13 and 14 in the Joe Paul Evans Arena at the West Plains Civic Center. The Grizzlies will play Quakerdale Prep at 7 p.m. Dec. 13 and New Mexico Junior College of Hobbs at 7 p.m. Dec. 14. The tournament is being sponsored by CenturyLink.
For more information about the Grizzly Basketball team, including complete statistics from the games, visit wp.missouristate.edu/grizzly/bb/.