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Archive for December, 2013

The MSU Bears renews their longest standing rivalry when they meet Southeast Missouri State for the 143rd time in a series that dates back to 1911.

The Bears own an 88-54 advantage in the rivalry, including a 60-12 lead in Springfield.  However, this will be just the fifth meeting between the squads as Division I programs (MSU moved up in 1982, SEMO in 1991) and the first-ever meeting at JQH Arena.

The most-recent meeting between the Bears and Redhawks took place on 12/21/02 at the Show-Me Center with the home club taking a 70-53 decision in front of 4,892 fans. Southeast got 17 points from Derek Winans and 15 points and 12 boards from Brandon Griffin while forcing 18 turnovers. The Bears were led by Monwell Randle with 14 points, while current SIU assistant Terrance McGee scored 10 and dished out 7 assists for the visitors.

MMSU got 18 points from Marcus Marshall and a career-high 15 rebounds from Keith Pickens to turn back visiting Alabama A&M, 68-47.

Austin Ruder, who was 4-of-7 from 3-point range, also contributed to MSU’s seventh straight home victory by adding 12 points.

MSU used solid free throw shooting and rebounding in the second half to put the game out of reach. The Bears finished 25-of-31 (.806) at the foul line and got to the line 25 times in the second half.

After the Bulldogs trimmed a 26-21 halftime deficit to 31-27 on a try by Nicolas West at the 16:40 mark of the second half, Missouri State went on a 16-5 run over the next five-and-a-half minutes to push ahead 47-32. Pickens ended the run with five unanswered points with Ruder and Marshall combining for three 3-pointers in the offensive outburst.

Pickens’ layup at the 11:12 mark would be the Bears’ last field goal for nearly 10 minutes as MSU used an aggressive approach to get to the line 14 times in that span, making 13, and securing a 60-39 advantage with 2:02 to play.

Bruce Marshall ended MSU’s field goal drought with 1:38 left in the game and later knocked down a 3-pointer from the left corner that gave the Bears their biggest lead of the night, 66-43, with 40 seconds remaining.

Missouri State dominated the boards in the second half, doubling the Bulldogs on the glass, 26-13, over the final 20 minutes. Pickens accounted for 14 of his caroms in the second half and finished with the most rebounds by a Bear since Dale Lamberth pulled down 16 against Bradley on Jan. 2, 2008.

Despite shooting an even 9-for-18 from the field in the second half, the Bears finished 17-of-50 (.340) after a slow start. MSU was 9-of-20 (.450) beyond the arc and matched a season-high with 14 turnovers.

In the first half, both teams used significant runs to account for most of their scoring. Missouri State stormed out of the gates to take a 12-2 lead less than 8 minutes into the contest. After MSU pushed ahead 14-5, AAMU reeled off 7 unanswered points to pull within 14-12 at the 7:58 mark before a 10-0 outburst by the Bears gave the home squad a 24-12 advantage with just under five minutes to go.  The Bulldogs ended the half on a 9-2 run to pull within 26-21 at the break.

MSU opens Missouri Valley Conference play at home on Thursday, Jan. 2 against Illinois State at 7:05 p.m.  The Bears and Redbirds split two meetings last season, including an 86-50 ISU win in Normal in the most-recent matchup (2/27/13).

The Bears then take to the road for a pair of Valley games at league newcomer Loyola (Sun., Jan. 5) and Bradley (Wed., Jan. 8).

Photo Courtesy of Ozarks Sports Zone

Gary Lee has the recap: 

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The Results for day 1 are:

Liberty – Bye

Licking: 62
Houston: 59

Eminence: 71
Norwood: 52

Winona: 64
Seymour: 31

Thayer: 91
Lutie: 34

Cabool: 67
Plato: 56

Gainesville: 88
Couch: 58

Dora: 70
Sparta: 52

Friday’s Schedule

Quarterfinals (All on 96.9 The Fox)
MV-BT/Liberty vs. Licking, 3 p.m.
Eminence vs. Winona, 4:30 p.m.
Thayer vs. Cabool, 6 p.m.
Gainesville vs. Dora, 7:30 p.m.
Norwood vs. Seymour, 10:30 p.m.
Lutie vs. Plato, 12 p.m.
Couch vs. Sparta, 1:30 p.m.

Photo Courtesy of Ozarks Sports Zone.

Springfield, Mo.  — After something of a slow start, the West Plains Zizzers put together a strong second half and defeated Ava in the opening round of the 68th annual Blue and Gold Tournament, 70-55.

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West Plains (5-2) entered the game as the No. 7 seed, but Ava was hung with the Zizzers early and were within one point (32-31) late in the second quarter before Cameron Butler ended the half with a 6-0 run to help West Plains open a seven-point lead.

The Zizzers then opened the second half on an 8-0 run as West Plains put the clamps on the Bears’ leading scorers, Ben Loge and Brandon Guengerich and expanded the lead from seven to 15 early in the third quarter.

“They went out and went on an 8-0 run and the lead went from seven to 15,” said Ava head coach Nathan Houk. “From then on we battled back. They (West Plains) are a good ball team. They are quick. They are very athletic. They jump well and rebound well. They do some things we don’t characteristically do against other teams. We played some zone because they outmatched us physically. We did that to try and slow them down.”

West Plains head coach Kevin Smith said the Zizzers will have to get off to a better start on Friday in a quarterfinal game against the Republic Tigers. Republic seeded second in the Gold Division, handled Willow Springs with ease in its first round game, defeating the Bears, 71-15.

“We didn’t do the things consistently that we wanted to do,” Smith said. “I saw flashes of it. But we just gave it away. I got to give credit to Ava. They did the right things they were supposed to do. We have got to just move on and get ready for our second round and look for a good game tomorrow.

West Plains had four players finish in double figures and 11 players scored in the game. Junior Justin Davis led with 15 points, while Butler added 13, junior Zach Flippin added 12 points and sophomore Zak Adkisson added 10 points off the bench.

Ava is off to a 3-4 start, but Houk said the Bears have played tough competition through the early stages of  the season. In addition to its loss to Ozark Conference foe West Plains at the Blue and Gold, Ava has losses to state-ranked Hartville,  Gainesville and Reeds Spring.

“We can’t play to the level of our competition,” Houk said. “We have got to be able to compete with the big schools.  We’ve  got to step up and play better against them. We’ve got to fight to win those games. Our outlook looks good. We got to keep playing hard.”


Due to the holiday there will not be any new sports stories until after Christmas.

Directly following the holiday break there will be plenty of action as the winter tournaments begin.

Please enjoy your holidays and have a safe and Merry Christmas.

NiJay Gaines scored a career-high 10 pointsSPRINGFIELD — The Missouri State Lady Bears (4-6) led wire-to-wire for a second consecutive game Saturday afternoon, defeating visiting Southeast Missouri State (4-9) by a 77-66 final at JQH Arena for MSU’s third consecutive win overall.

In fact, the Lady Bears have held the lead 99:06 of a possible 120 minutes in the last three games, including double-digit leads for 57:42 of that time. Including tie scores, the Lady Bears have not trailed since 4:08 remained in the first half of the Dec. 15 game against Lamar.

Missouri State’s defense locked down SEMO in the first half, limiting the Redhawks to 8-for-29 shooting and forcing 13 turnovers in the first 20 minutes for a 34-21 halftime lead.

The Lady Bears led 19-7 less than 12 minutes into the game, and rattled of a 7-0 run to lead 31-19 with 2:33 on the clock after the Redhawks had closed within five points on three occasions.

SEMO briefly cut Missouri State’s lead to single digits early in the second half when Kenzie Williams drained a 3-pointer for a 14-point lead at 43-29 with 17:25 left in the game.

The visitors had two more runs in them, closing to 49-41 with 12:46 left and 54-46 with 9:38 to go when the Lady Bears responded with a 3-pointer from NiJay Gaines and five straight points from Bry Snow for their largest lead yet at 62-46 with 7:35 to go.

Aside from a 13-second stretch with less than two minutes remaining in the game, the Lady Bears maintained a double-digit lead for remainder of the contest.

Williams led four players in double figures with 16 points for her 10th consecutive in double figures. The sophomore also matched a career high with nine rebounds.

Gaines scored a career-high 10 points and added seven boards, Tyonna Snow had 15 points and four steals (including the 100th of her career in just her 40th game), while Bry Snow scored 14 points, all in the second half.

The Snow sisters shot a combined 19-for-28 at the foul line as the Lady Bears went 27-for-39 overall to hold a 16-point edge over SEMO at the charity stripe. The Redhawks shot 25-of-60 overall compared to 23-for-63 for MSU.

The Lady Bears grabbed a season-high 23 offensive rebounds and held a 45-36 rebounding advantage while swiping 12 steals.

The Lady Bears are off until Dec. 29 when they visit North Texas for a 2 p.m. contest.

(West Plains)  It’s time again to get ready for an evening of fun competition and fundraising during the annual Grizzly Basketball Trivia Night, January 25th at the West Plains Civic Center.

Teams consisting of 8 members will put their heads together in an effort to answer as many trivia questions as possible to claim the Trivia Night Traveling Trophy.

Master of Ceremonies Harlin Hutchison talks about the purpose of the evening.

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He says there is room for everyone who wants to participate.

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Again, contact Dr. Herb Lunday for more information at 255-7225.

With Tomas Benyo

Tom Benyo Class A GCSAA
Willow Springs Municipal Golf Course

Sign ups are continuing for the OPO golf tournament.  This event which began in 1981 as a few friends playing golf to ring in the new year has grown to be a very popular tournament.  Of course weather dictates how many golfers come out, but there is a hard core group that play it every year.  The only reason to postpone is if there is snow cover and safety would be an issue.  Otis Petrus started this gathering in the 80’s and we continue now.  We have had as many as 50 teams entering and even in bitter cold we have a couple dozen.  Sign up by calling the pro shop and leave your name and if you need a cart…469-1214.  The cost is $20 per player and we will begin the 2-person scramble at 12 noon.  The always popular hats will be given and mulligans are included in the sign up fee.  The hats are again provided by G & W Foods, our corporate sponsor.  Solicitations for hole sponsors are continuing and if anyone would like to be one call the office at 469-1214, the same number to sign up.  The always popular chili lunch will be served following play.  The Petrus  family and friends are so helpful in organizing that end of things.

Proceeds from the tournament go toward improvements in OP Hall and other projects around the golf course.  Last year’s money helped with the concrete for the new pavilion.  By the way, the Landmark Bank Pavilion is complete.  This spring we will begin landscaping around it.  It is an awesome facility and will be open for community use for picnics, parties, reunions etc.

The Zizzer Boys played the Lonoke Jack  Rabbits in the Ranger Boats Classic Saturday Night. After falling behind 20 points they came back for the win.

Scott Williamson has the details: 

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Again the final scores were:

West Plains Zizzers: 71

Lanoke Jack Rabbits: 68

The Blue And Gold Tournament starts this Thursday.

The Willow Springs Bears came away with a narrow win against the Alton Comets Friday Night.

Larry Spence has more details: 

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Once again the final scores were:

Willow Springs Bears:  56

Alron Comets: 53

ST. LOUIS (AP) – When Jabari Brown made a 3-pointer with 14.9 seconds left, No. 23 Missouri celebrated as if it had won its fifth consecutive Braggin’ Rights game against Illinois.

This time, though, there was a different ending.

Johnathan Williams III fouled with 4.6 ticks remaining, and Tracy Abrams made both free throws to give the Illini a 65-64 victory.

Missouri’s Tony Criswell heaved a last-ditch attempt from half-court, but the shot fell harmlessly into the stands.

“We just had to make a play,” Jordan Clarkson said. “We had to make a stop at the end of the game. We just didn’t finish the game the way we wanted to.”

Clarkson finished with 25 points, six rebounds and a career-best eight assists. Earnest Ross added 13 for the Tigers (10-1), who entered the game as the lone unbeaten school in the Southeastern Conference.

The Tigers scored their fewest points of the season one game after its previous low in a 66-60 win against Western Michigan.

Missouri coach Frank Haith said the Illini were the more physical team.

“It was a hard-fought game,” he said. “It was like two heavyweight fighters going at it, and I think you’ve got to adjust to the game when it’s going to be officiated like that in terms of the physicality of the game. And they did a better job of that than we did.”

Missouri bungled its final play after Abrams’ free throws, as Criswell’s inbounds pass was slightly behind a streaking Clarkson. The ball caromed off Clarkson’s arm before Criswell ended up with the ball for the final shot.

“It was a tough pass to catch,” Clarkson said. “I was coming down full speed and the ball went behind me a little bit and slipped out of my hand. Tony just got it and I feel like we got a good shot at the basket. That was the only shot we could get.”

Abrams finished with a season-best 22 points and Rayvonte Rice added 14 points for Illinois (10-2), which leads the annual series between the schools 21-12. Abrams finished 7 for 10 at the line.

The Illini were unranked for the pre-Christmas game for the first time in four years, and perhaps learned from a loss at No. 15 Oregon their last time out.

The last four years, the schools entered with a combined 72-7 record. The teams combined for 15 lead changes, setting up the frenzied final seconds.

“We just got to do the little things,” Brown said. “We missed free throws, we had some turnovers. We don’t win or lose the game on that last play. It was an accumulation of things.”

Among those attending were Hall of Fame baseball manager Whitey Herzog, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon and the football coaches from both schools, Missouri’s Gary Pinkel and Illinois’ Bob Beckman.

The schools traded runs in the second half that kept it tight, 10-1 by Missouri to go up by near the midway point and 9-0 by Illinois with a pair of three-point plays by Abrams for a two-point lead with 6:17 to go.

Illinois climbed out of an early hole behind 3-point shooting, hitting six of its first 10 – by six players – and led 31-27 at the half. Missouri led 8-0 and had a nine-point cushion at 15-6 after Rice’s second foul with 13:47 to go in the half.

Illinois answered with a 10-0 run the next 3 1/2 minutes, including 3-pointers from Kendrick Nunn and Abrams, and scored seven in a row late in the half for a six-point lead ended by Clarkson’s driving basket with five seconds to go.

“That was a really good ballgame, I think,” Haith said. “Two good teams, playing hard. It comes down to two free throws to lose the game. I like where our team is at.”