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MSU-West Plains Grizzly Basketball
The Grizzly Basketball team (2-0) will host Trinity Valley Community College (TX) at 7 p.m. Friday in the Joe Paul Evans Arena at the West Plains Civic Center.
Everyone is encouraged to bring building materials or usable tools for Habitat for Humanity as part of the team’s community service project for the night.
The game sponsor is Shoe Factory Lofts.
For more information about the Grizzly Basketball team, visit http://wp.missouristate.edu/grizzly/bb. 

sports_photoThe Missouri State football program will hit a crossroads this weekend. The Bears have suddenly caught fire, winning three games in a row by double digits.

At 4-2 in the Missouri Valley Football Conference, MSU is tied with Illinois State (a team the Bears have already beat) for third place in the league. A win at Southern Illinois this weekend would give the Bears their most league wins since 1990, which was also the last time MSU made the FCS playoffs.

It’s been a roller coaster season that began with an 0-4 start in the non-conference schedule, followed by losing two of the first three MVFC games.

But somehow, some way, the Bears are on the upswing/

MSU has finally found some offense to go with its stellar defense, and the results have been three straight convincing wins. Their game this Saturday will have long-term and short-term implications.

A win, and the Bears keep their slim hopes for the p-word (I can’t bring myself to type it and jinx it) alive. The Bears would be 5-6 overall and 5-2 in the MVFC, with a regular season finale at home the following week against last-place Northern Iowa.

You wouldn’t think a .500-level record would be good enough to get into the FCS playoffs, but the Bears have a few things working to their advantage.

For one, they play in what’s usually viewed as one of the toughest conferences in the FCS. Generally, the MVFC sends multiple teams to the playoffs. That at-large bid may be a pipe dream with a 6-6 overall record, but at least at 6-2 and alone in third place, the Bears would have chance.

In speaking with the media this week, Allen said: “If we can get this one (at Southern Illinois), then we’re coming home and might be playing for something pretty specially. So we gotta make sure they know that, but also stay in the mindset that it’s one game at a time.”

So, you mean to say MSU’s season might not be over after playing Northern Iowa on Nov. 16?

“(Players) understand that,” Allen said. “We’ve made sure of that.”

The FCS playoffs also expanded from 20 to 24 teams for the 2013 season. While it may have been bleak to get a bid two or three years ago, the Bears could land in one of those new playoff spots.

Here’s a recap of how many MVFC teams have made the playoffs in the last five years. Keep in mind, between 2010-2012, there were 10 at-large spots available. There are 13 at-large spots this year.

• 2012 – League champ: North Dakota State; At-large: Illinois State, South Dakota State
•  2011 – League champ: North Dakota State; At-large: Northern Iowa
• 2010 – League champ: Northern Iowa; At-large: North Dakota State, Western Illinois
• 2009 – League champ: Southern Illinois; At-large: South Dakota State *16-team playoff, 8 at-large spots
• 2008 – League champ: Northern Iowa; At-large: Southern Illinois *16-team playoff, 8 at-large spots

In the interest of full disclosure, the easy case against the Bears’ playoff chances would be that none of those at-large teams in the last five years had a .500-level record. That just makes the Bears’ early season struggles all the more frustrating.

If they don’t somehow pull a loss from the jaws of victory against Murray State, Central Arkansas and South Dakota, they’re at least 6-4 and a near-lock for the playoffs if they win out.

Let’s play along and say the Bears win their last two games, defy the odds, and squeak into the playoffs with one of the last at-large bids.

Suddenly, your head coach goes from the hot seat to the contract-extension seat. Allen will have given the Bears their most league victories and first playoff appearance in over 20 years. He also would go into 2014 in the final year of his contract.

You have to bring him back for 2014 and let the contract play out, but now do you reward him with an extension? Does one improbable late-season run into a playoff spot outweigh seven seasons of average-to-above average football?

It would be hard for Allen to go on the recruiting trail, coming off a breakthrough playoff appearance for the school, and try to land players while they know his contract will be up after their first season at MSU.

That contract extension depends on if the Bears can win at Southern Illinois, then return home and beat Northern Iowa (something Allen has never done at MSU.) Past history would tell us that this is the classic MSU sports scenario where we slightly get our hopes up, only to be let down.

If they lose one or both of the next two games, we could see a lot of changes with MSU football before next season. A “lame duck” situation would not be ideal for anyone.

Still, it’s a refreshing change that basketball season is about to start and the football Bears still have something to play for.

Ottawa Senators' Robin Lehner stops a breakaway shot from St. Louis Blues' T.J. Oshie during an NHL hockey game, Saturday, Nov. 22, 2014, in Ottawa, Ontario. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Sean Kilpatrick)

Ottawa Senators’ Robin Lehner stops a breakaway shot from St. Louis Blues’ T.J. Oshie during an NHL hockey game, Saturday, Nov. 22, 2014, in Ottawa, Ontario. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Sean Kilpatrick)

OTTAWA, Ontario (AP) — Clarke MacArthur had a simple explanation why the Ottawa Senators couldn’t erase a one-goal deficit against the St. Louis Blues in the third period – pure execution.

Alex Steen’s second-period goal stood up as the game-winner in the Blues’ 3-2 victory over the Senators on Saturday.

“They’re making hockey plays and we’re not,” MacArthur said. “We’re not making good passes. They’re going tape-to-tape and moving it, and we weren’t, so it’s tough to get momentum.

“It’s just got to be crisper.”

Maxim Lapierre and Vladimir Tarasenko also scored for the Blues (13-6-1), and Brian Elliott stopped 24 shots.

“It was good for the boys to get the win,” forward T.J. Oshie said. “It was good for us to get some goals for our goaltenders as they’ve been working hard and playing outstanding all year/

“We haven’t been getting them as many goals as of late so it was nice to get (Elliott) the win.”

Ottawa got goals from Mika Zibanejad and Erik Karlsson. Robin Lehner, making his second consecutive start, stopped 30 shots.

Lehner could hardly be faulted for his effort, but the 23-year-old goalie believed he could have been better.

“First goal is tough when it comes right off the bat, and he opened me up. It’s something I’ve got to work on,” Lehner said. “I think the tip on the third goal, too. It’s just a reflex to start reaching with your stick to deflect it into the corner and out of the rink, and he tipped it back.

“That stuff bugs me and I’ve got to work on it, but I felt like I came back good in the third and had some good saves.”

The teams meet again Tuesday in St. Louis for the second and final time this season.

Ottawa (9-6-4) was only 3-7-2 in afternoon games last season, and the Senators repeated the trend against the Blues.

Karlsson laughed off that notion.

“It’s just another stat to keep track of,” he said. “We haven’t won a lot of afternoon games, we’re all aware of it, but it’s not something we really think about. We can try to do different things, but we try everything we can to win games.

“They’re a good team, and we’re going to lose sometimes.”

Trailing 3-2, the Senators started the third period on a power play, but were unable to capitalize. They were outshot 15-5 in the frame.

“They outplayed us in the third period, which was the only thing that would be disappointing in the game,” Senators coach Paul MacLean said. “I thought we were competitive and played hard against a hard team.”

The teams exchanged goals in the second, but Lehner and Elliott stood out.

Elliott made a glove save against Colin Greening early in the period, and minutes later Lehner bailed out Karlsson following a giveaway that led to a point-blank chance for Tarasenko.

It was the second time in the game that Lehner covered after a giveaway by the captain.

St. Louis made it 3-1 at 12:45 when Steen tipped Jay Bouwmeester’s shot past Lehner.

The Senators cut the deficit to one on Karlsson’s power-play goal from the point with 4:39 left in the period.

“I didn’t see it coming through all the bodies,” said Elliott, who spent parts of four seasons with the Senators. “Those are tough ones to swallow, especially when you’re up 3-1. That goal makes it a tight game.

“We battled back and kept things to the outside for most of the rest of the game. When you’re not going to the box, that helps, as well.”

Both teams had a solid first period when the Blues took a 2-1 lead.

St. Louis opened the scoring on its first shot when Maxim Lapierre got around Cody Ceci and went on to beat Lehner through the legs at 4:16.

Ottawa tied it with a power-play goal at 16:23 as Bobby Ryan came from behind the net and found Zibanejad in front for a shot that quickly beat Elliott.

Just 30 seconds later, St. Louis regained the lead as Jori Lehtera found Tarasenko alone for his team-leading 12th of the season.

NOTES: Senators D was scratched after taking part in warmups. He was replaced by Patrick Wiercioch. … D Marc Methot remained sidelined (back, indefinite). Erik Condra and Curtis Lazar were healthy scratches for Ottawa. … The Blues’ Joakim Lindstrom, Chris Porter and Chris Butler were healthy scratches.

Missouri quarterback Maty Mauk throws to a receiver in the first half of an NCAA college football game against Tennessee, Saturday, Nov. 22, 2014, in Knoxville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Wade Payne)

Missouri quarterback Maty Mauk throws to a receiver in the first half of an NCAA college football game against Tennessee, Saturday, Nov. 22, 2014, in Knoxville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Wade Payne)

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Missouri found a way to win on the road once again.

Now, the 19th-ranked Tigers return home with a chance to earn their second straight trip to the Southeastern Conference championship game.

Maty Mauk threw a pair of fourth-quarter touchdown passes and Marcus Murphy ran for two scores Saturday night as Missouri defeated Tennessee 29-21 for its 10th straight road win, setting a school record.

“Everybody said we were going to lose this game, too,” Missouri defensive end Shane Ray said. “It doesn’t look like it.”

Missouri (9-2, 6-1 SEC) can clinch the East Division and earn a spot in the SEC title game by winning at home Friday over Arkansas. A loss would send No. 9 Georgia (9-2, 6-2) to Atlanta instead. Georgia is 10th and Missouri 20th in the College Football Playoff standings.

Andrew Baggett’s 43-yard field goal broke a 13-all tie midway through the third quarter. Mauk threw a 73-yard touchdown pass to Jimmie Hunt and a 13-yard scoring strike to Bud Sasser in the fourth quarter.

Tennessee (5-6, 2-5) must win next week at Vanderbilt to become bowl-eligible for the first time since 2010.

“We’ve got a lot to accomplish with this football team,” Tennessee coach Butch Jones said. “We’re not going anywhere. Some people never even thought we’d be playing for a bowl game.”

The Volunteers cut the lead to 29-21 when Joshua Dobbs threw a 4-yard touchdown pass to Jason Croom with 1:52 remaining and delivered a two-point conversion on a quarterback keeper. Tennessee then rested its hopes on an onside kick.

Tennessee recovered its first attempt, but an offside penalty forced the Vols to kick again. Although Tennessee’s Justin Coleman recovered the next kick, officials ruled the Vols had touched the ball before it went the required 10 yards.

Missouri won by containing a Tennessee offense that had averaged 47.5 points per game in Dobbs’ two previous starts. Missouri had six sacks and kept Tennessee’s offense out of the end zone until the final 2 minutes. The Volunteers’ only touchdown before that came when holder Patrick Ashford threw a 31-yard pass to Alex Ellis on a fake field goal.

“We felt going in we had to get after Josh Dobbs to win this game,” said Missouri defensive end Markus Golden, who had two sacks. “That’s exactly what was on our mind.”

Dobbs was 24 of 37 for 195 yards with a touchdown and interception, while Mauk went 12 of 25 for 230 yards. Murphy ran for 82 yards on 19 carries to help Missouri outrush Tennessee 180-53.

“I’d definitely say that’s the best defense we’ve played (against),” Tennessee running back Jalen Hurd said.

Tennessee was missing leading tackler A.J. Johnson and cornerback Michael Williams, who were suspended from all team-related activities Monday, one day before both were named as subjects of an ongoing rape investigation in which no charges have been filed.

The Vols also didn’t have injured center Mack Crowder and receiver Marquez North. They played the first half without safety Brian Randolph, who had committed a targeting penalty in a 50-16 victory over Kentucky last week.

All those absences tested Tennessee’s depth to the point that the Vols started seven true freshmen. Never before had Tennessee started that many true freshmen in one game.

Tennessee still seemed on the verge of tying the game or taking the lead early in the fourth quarter.

“This is a resilient group of kids,” Jones said.

The Tigers were clinging to a 16-13 advantage when a pass-interference penalty gave Tennessee a first down at the Missouri 29. But on the next play, Dobbs threw a pass that bounced off the hands of wide receiver Josh Malone and was picked off by Kenya Dennis at the Missouri 20.

Three plays later, Mauk threw a deep pass to Hunt, who beat Coleman to catch the ball inside the Tennessee 40, then stiff-armed cornerback Cam Sutton inside the 25 before heading into the end zone. The touchdown extended Missouri’s lead to 23-13 with 10:42 remaining.

Mauk capped Missouri’s next drive by finding Sasser in the left corner of the end zone with 6:22 left.

“I’m very, very proud of our football team,” Missouri coach Gary Pinkel said. “We’ve got a quick week, short week. We’ve got a big game on Friday.”

STILLWATER, Okla. (AP) — Brittany Atkins scored 20 points, Roshunda Johnson had 12 assists to go with 12 points and No. 21 Oklahoma State easily handled Missouri State 77-36 on Saturday.

LaShawn Jones added 13 points and seven rebounds for the Cowgirls, who played without leading scorer Brittney Martin (19.7 points per game), who was out with an injury.

The Cowgirls (3-1) rebounded after losing 79-77 at No. 11 North Carolina on Wednesday night. The victory was 35th in a row over nonconference opponents at home. The last such loss came against Duke in 2010.

Oklahoma State led 32-20 at halftime despite shooting just 35.1 percent. But the Cowgirls rebounded with a 55.2 percent performance in the second half, outscoring the Bears by 29 points in the last 20 minutes.

Liza Fruendt scored 11 points and Hillary Chvatal had 11 rebounds for the Bears (0-3).

CONWAY, Ark. (AP) — Nino Johnson and Jarekious Bradley each scored 20 points and Southeast Missouri State held on to defeat Central Arkansas 74-68 on Saturday.

The Redhawks led comfortably for most of the game, but Central Arkansas clawed back to pull within two at the 12:09 mark in the second half. SE Missouri answered with a 14-4 run sparked by a jumper, two free throws and a dunk from Bradley.

The Bears climbed back again, making it 70-67 after Mike Martin’s jumper with 1:25 left, but SE Missouri made four free throws to hang on.

Antonius Cleveland finished with 14 points and 11 rebounds for the Redhawks, who had an 18-7 offensive rebound edge and 21 second-chance points. Johnson grabbed nine boards and Josh Langford had 10 points for SE Missouri (2-2).

Jordan Howard led Central Arkansas (0-4) with 21 points, Martin had 13 with six assists and Jake Zuilhof scored 12.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — James White scored 17 points, grabbed seven rebounds and had four blocks to lead the University of Arkansas-Little Rock to a 73-68 win over the University of Missouri-Kansas City at the EA Sports Maui Invitational on Saturday.

Josh Hagins added 11 points for the Trojans (2-1). James Reid chipped in with nine points and four rebounds. The team hit 51 percent from the field overall, 73 percent from the line and 40 percent from beyond the arc.

UMKC led 34-30 at the break but lost the momentum to the Trojans in the second period. They finished shooting 41.7 percent from the field and 45 percent from the line.

Scoring leaders for the Kangaroos (2-2) were Martez Harrison and Frank Williams, Jr. with 15 points apiece. Shayok Shayok led the team with 11 rebounds.

CEDAR FALLS, Iowa (AP) — David Johnson padded three school records in his final regular-season game, rushing for a career-high 205 yards and three touchdowns in Northern Iowa’s 38-24 win over Missouri State Saturday.

It was the 22nd time in Johnson’s career that he rushed for more than 100 yards in a game, but the first time he topped 200. His three touchdown runs (6-, 31- and 9-yards) give him 59 for his career, his 205 yards give him 4,487 for his career, and he added 243 all-purpose yards to his career best mark (6,439).

The teams traded first-half touchdowns until Johnson broke open for his 31-yard scoring run to give Northern Iowa (8-4, 6-2 Missouri Valley) a 21-14 lead.

Missouri State (4-8, 1-7) got a 28-yard field goal from Marcelo Bonani to cut the lead to 31-24 midway through the fourth, but Chad Owens put the game away with a 7-yard TD run.

LUBBOCK, Texas (AP) — Texas Tech coach Tubby Smith was upset after Saturday night’s game against Missouri State.

“I thought it was one of our worst defensive efforts,” he said. “We just lost people, didn’t get out and contest shots like we should. We let them pass the ball up the court wherever they wanted.”

Just imagine what his reaction would’ve been had the Red Raiders not earned an 80-68 home win against Missouri State.

They won behind a strong second-half and overall dominance down low. The Red Raiders outscored Missouri State 28-10 in the paint and outrebounded the Bears 40-22.

“I felt the big difference in the game was clearly the rebounding,” Bears coach Paul Lusk said. “But most importantly their ability to finish at the rim and finish at the paint and our absolute lack of ability to finish at the rim when we got the ball there multiple times. That’s deflating.”

The Bears (2-1) evened the score at 44 with 17:54 left in the second half on an Austin Ruder 3-pointer, but the Red Raiders scored seven consecutive points over the next 2:32 for a 51-44 lead.

The Bears pulled to within four points twice but couldn’t come closer.

The Red Raiders (2-1) outrebounded Missouri State 28-9 in the second half, which helped turn a 42-38 halftime lead into the 12-point final margin. Texas Tech had their biggest lead at 80-61 with 2:03 remaining in the second half.

They survived an excellent game by Bears junior Marcus Marshall, who finished with 27 points. He scored his team’s first 17 points on 5-of-5 shooting and didn’t miss a bucket in the first nine minutes.

“Marcus can’t do it by himself,” Lusk said. “I felt for most of the game we were right in position. We just wilted right there in the end.”

Devaugntah Williams, who’s been battling a toe injury, scored a career-high 18 points for the Red Raiders. Norense Odiase added 14 points and seven rebounds to give him double-digit points in all three Texas Tech games this season. Robert Turner added 12 points.

Although Odiase and Zach Smith led the Red Raiders with just seven rebounds apiece, 11 Red Raiders earned a rebound. Ruder added 19 points for the Bears.

TIP-INS

Missouri State: Marcus Marshall appears to be fully recovered from the right knee surgery that ended his sophomore season. The guard entered Saturday tied for sixth nationally with 25.5 points per game and scored 27 points Saturday.

Texas Tech: The bench continues to be a strong point for the Red Raiders. The unit scored 38 points Saturday to the starters’ 42. The bench outscored the starters 38-33 in the Red Raiders’ season-opener against Loyola (Md.) and was outscored 47-17 in the Red Raiders’ second game this season, which was a 69-64 loss to LSU.

PIVOTAL MOMENT

Missouri State evened the score at 44 with 17:54 remaining in the second half, but three Red Raiders came up big over the next 2:32. Odiase made a layup, Smith two free throws and Turner a layup and a free throw for a 51-44 lead the Red Raiders held from there.

UP NEXT

Missouri State plays Colorado State on Thursday in Anchorage, Alaska.

Texas Tech hosts Northwestern State on Tuesday.

The Missouri State University-West Plains Grizzlies traveled to Wilburton, Oklahoma on Saturday where they took on the Eastern Oklahoma State College Mountaineers.

The voice of the Grizzlies Brian Ingalls has your Grizzly Scoreboard Report:

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Once again the Grizzlies suffered their second loss this season, losing 100-96 to the Eastern Oklahoma State College Mountaineers.

 

(Ozark Radio Sports) – Gerry Elam is back with another local sports update, with results from the most recent Grizzly volleyball game from the national tournament and a discussion with Coach Steve Ary:

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(West Plains) – After only three years coaching the West Plains Zizzers Football team, Coach Steve Ary has been named Coach of the Year.

Ozark Radio News spoke with Coach Ary to learn what it means to him to receive such a title:

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The West Plains Zizzers played an incredible season, coming away with an 8-3 record on the season and a 7-2 record in district play. Coach Ary shared his thought on his most recent season of play:

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With this season over for the Zizzers, Coach Ary says he’s already looking to next year:

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19 boys from the West Plains Zizzer Football team were named All-Ozark Conference for their play during their 2014 season.

FIRST TEAM OFFENSE

Player

Grade

Position

School
Sam Hall

11

QB

West Plains
Brad Gaffey

11

WR

West Plains
Dausen Neuschwander

11

OL

West Plains
Andrew Cobb

11

TE

West Plains
Jacob Hackworth

12

OL

West Plains
Gerard Dietrich

11

WR

West Plains

FIRST TEAM DEFENSE

Player

Position

Grade

School
Matt Wernsing

LB

12

West Plains
Sage Wood

DL

12

West Plains
Tyler Sands

DB

12

West Plains
John Williams

DB

11

West Plains

SECOND TEAM OFFENSE

Player

Grade

Position

School
Jett Sexton

11

OL

West Plains
Greg Freeman

12

OL

West Plains
Sage Wood

12

OL

West Plains
Robert Kurth

12

RB

West Plains

SECOND TEAM DEFENSE

Player

Position

Grade

School
Jake Quarti

LB

11

West Plains
Chance Davis

DL

11

West Plains
Dakota Sloan

DL

11

West Plains


HONORABLE MENTION OFFENSE

Player

Grade

Position

School
Wade Chezem

12

FB

West Plains


HONORABLE MENTION DEFENSE

Player

Position

Grade

School
Brandon Mitchell

DB

11

West Plains
Justin Nichols

DB

10

West Plains