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After trailing the Mineral Area Cardinals throughout the game, the Grizzlies bring it to within 1 point with seconds remaining.

Harlin Hutchison has more details:

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PARK HILLS, Mo. – A strong second half performance wasn’t enough for the Missouri State University-West Plains Grizzly Basketball team to overcome all of their misfortunes Wednesday night, Jan. 29, against the Mineral Area College (MAC) Cardinals in Park Hills, Mo.

The Grizzlies lost to their Region 16 counterpart 56-55 and now stand at 15-9 for the season.  The loss drops their region record to 2-2, placing them third in the rankings with four more region contests remaining in the season.

The game started slow for both teams, with no one scoring for the first two minutes.  Once the scoring started, the Cardinals eventually built a 9-point lead midway through the period.  Although the Grizzlies cut the lead to 3 points with about six minutes remaining, the Cardinals took off again and led by as many as 10 points before going into the halftime break with a 33-24 advantage.

“We settled for way too many jumpers in the first half,” Grizzly Basketball Head Coach Yancey Walker said.  “We didn’t attack inside for the first 10 minutes of the game.  When we did, we were successful.”

The Grizzlies battled back in the second half and kept narrowing the lead throughout the period, but time ran out before they could pull ahead and secure a win.

“We controlled the second half, but basketball is truly a game of inches,” Walker said.  “We led guys too much in transition, and that cost us several chances.  We closed out well on shooters, but they banked in several shots.  Malik London gets an offensive rebound and dunks the ball, and somehow the ball gets caught in the net before it gets all of the way through the basket.  I have never seen that in person.  We just didn’t play well enough to overcome our misfortunes.”

Statistically, neither team turned in stellar performances.  The Grizzlies only connected on 19 of 52 shots from the field for 36.5 percent and none of their 11 attempts from 3-point range.  The Cardinals didn’t fare much better, hitting only 24 of 61 shots from the field for 39.3 percent.  They did, however, hit shots from 3-point range, making five of 17 attempts for 29.4 percent.

The Grizzlies’ saving grace in the game came at the charity stripe, where they hit 17 of 23 shots for 73.9 percent.  The Cardinals only went to the line nine times and connected on three of those shots for 33.3 percent.

Freshman forward Justin Jamison led the Grizzlies in scoring with 20 points, followed by sophomore guard Arroyo Edwards with 11, 9 of which came from the free throw line.  Jamison also recorded a double double with 14 rebounds.

MAC was led on the scoreboard by Anthony Virdure with 14 points and Orlando Johnson with 11.

Walker also noted the play of London, a sophomore forward, who had five rebounds and five blocks during the contest.

The Grizzlies will try to get back on the winning track Saturday, Feb. 1 when they travel to Moberly, Mo., to play Region 16 rival Moberly Area Community College at 7 p.m.

“We have no choice but to recover,” Walker said.

The Grizzlies next action will be Saturday as the Grizzlies take on the Moberly Greyhounds. The Grizzlies next home game is Tuesday, Feb. 4, against God’s Academy of Dallas, Texas.  Tipoff is 7 p.m. in the Joe Paul Evans Arena at the West Plains Civic Center.

For more information about the Grizzly Basketball team, including complete statistics from the games, visit wp.missouristate.edu/grizzly/bb/.

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