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SEDALIA, Mo. – In the battle for Region 16 supremacy Tuesday night, Jan. 22, the Missouri State University-West Plains Grizzly Basketball team found themselves on the losing side.

Harlin Hutchison has the details:

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The Grizzlies fell to State Fair Community College 116-144 in a triple overtime thriller at the Davis Multipurpose Center on the State Fair campus in Sedalia, Mo.  The loss gives the Grizzlies a 15-8 overall record and 2-1 region record.  State Fair, 14-6 overall, now sits alone at the top of the region standings with a 3-0 record.

“I have to start by complimenting both teams for the effort they gave in an outstanding game,” Grizzly Basketball Head Coach Yancey Walker said.  “Both teams fought hard and gave tremendous effort.  State Fair simply made one more play than we did.”

The Grizzlies started off the game hot, going up by as much as 17 points twice in the first half of regulation before the Roadrunners battled back to make it a 10-point game at halftime, 45-35.  The Grizzlies continued to lead throughout much of the second half, going up by as much as 14 points midway through the period, but the Roadrunners inched closer and closer in the later stages of the second half and finally took an 83-82 lead on a conventional 3-point play by Kevin Punter.

A free throw by sophomore Grizzly guard Arroyo Edwards knotted the score at 83-83 with 51 seconds remaining, but the Roadrunners took the lead again with a dunk by Jean-Louis Wanya at the 19 second mark.  A quick layup by sophomore Grizzly guard Devaugntah Williams tied the game again with 10 seconds remaining to send the contest into the first overtime.

The teams continued battling back and forth in the first and second overtime periods, scoring 11 points and 8 points each, respectively.  The battle continued in the third overtime, with the Grizzlies holding onto a slim lead through much of it, but the Roadrunners finally went on top for good on a layup by Punter with 37 seconds remaining.

“We had five guys who scored in double figures, our assist-to-turnover ratio was over two-to-one, and we were 74 percent from the free throw line.  We just didn’t finish the game off when we had the opportunity,” Walker said.

Williams led the team in scoring with 36 points, followed by Edwards with 27, freshman forward Justin Jamison and freshman guard Jameel Moore each with 15, and redshirt freshman forward Ed Seay with 12.  Overall, the Grizzlies connected on 40-92 shots from the field for 43.5 percent, eight of 24 attempts from 3-point range for 33.3 percent and 26 of 35 shots from the free throw line for 74.3 percent.

Seay led the team in rebounding with 13 grabs, and Jamison followed with 11, giving each a double double performance for the night. Williams led the team in assists with six.

State Fair hit 41 of 94 attempts from the field for 43.6 percent, seven of 23 3-point attempts for 30.4 percent and 27 of 38 free throw attempts for 71.1 percent.  Leading scorers were Punter with 32 points, Joe Thomasson with 27, Kedar Edwards 24, Wanya 14 and Dondre Alexander 11.  Edwards led the team in rebounds with 14.

“I really feel for our team,” Walker said.  “They went to State Fair and fought hard.  I hate the fact that they are hurting because they gave all they could in a game like that and came up just a little short.  The emotions that go into a game like that are indescribable, but I am very proud of our team.”

Next up for the Grizzlies is a 7 p.m. contest against Region 16 rival Mineral Area College Wednesday, Jan. 29, in Park Hills, Mo.  After a Feb. 1 game against Region 16 rival Moberly Area Community College in Moberly, Mo., the Grizzlies will return home Feb. 4 for a 7 p.m. game against God’s Academy from Dallas, Texas.

“We have to use this to get better,” Walker said of the loss.  “We have to finish games off when we have the opportunity.  We have Mineral Area up there next Wednesday.  That is a chance to get back on the winning track and finish the first half of the region season 3-1.”

For more information about the Grizzly Basketball team, including complete statistics from the games, visit wp.missouristate.edu/grizzly/bb/. And don’t forget about the Grizzly Trivia Night Saturday the 25th starting at 6pm. You can find more details about that HERE.

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