(Council Bluffs) – The Missouri State University-West Plains Grizzly Basketball team posted a 1-1 record at the Hampton Inn-Holiday Inn Reiver Classic Friday and Saturday, Nov. 15 and 16, at Iowa Western Community College in Council Bluffs.
The Grizzlies, now 4-2, defeated Marshalltown (Iowa) Community College 63-55 Friday but fell to the hosting Iowa Western Reivers 82-66 Saturday.
Despite the Grizzlies’ win Friday, head coach Yancey Walker said the team was not at its best offensively. “Part of that was because of how patient we had to be against their zones,” he said. “The first half had a gap in scoring, but our defense kept us in the lead.”
The Grizzlies’ defense held Marshalltown’s shooting to just 18.5 percent from the field in the first half, which allowed the Grizzlies to go into the break with a 23-16 advantage. “Defensively, we played pretty well. They got a lot of baskets in transition, but we were able to negate that, even shooting such a poor percentage ourselves,” Walker said.
“The biggest difference in the game was the rebounding margin,” he added. “We had 52 total rebounds, with 17 of them being offensive, and they had 26 total rebounds. That allowed us several more chances at the basket and negated second chance opportunities for them.”
The Grizzlies were led on the scoreboard by freshman guard Jeremiah Jackson with 17 points, followed by sophomore guard Devaugntah Williams with 15 points and redshirt freshman forward Ed Seay, Jr., with 10 points. Sophomore forward Malik London led the team in rebounds with 16.
Marshalltown’s Troidell Carter led his team in scoring with 12 points.
The teams will meet again at 4:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 22, when they compete in the Bowling RV Classic at Indian Hills Community College in Ottumwa, Iowa. “We have to be better when we play them Friday, because they will have extra motivation this time around,” Walker said.
The Grizzlies will play the hosting Warriors at 7 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 23, during the tournament’s second night.
The Grizzlies again struggled offensively against the Reivers Saturday night. “We sputtered offensively early in the game. We had no pace, and we didn’t do a good enough job attacking inside. On top of that, we didn’t cover their shooters well enough in the first half, so the hole got too deep,” Walker said.
The Grizzlies went into the halftime break down 46-29, and although they made a run at the Reivers, they couldn’t dig themselves out of the hole.
“The fact of the matter is, they make four more threes than we did and four more free throws. There’s 16 points right there,” he continued. “In a game like that against a team like that on its home floor, there is no time to take a breath, and we can’t miss assignments.
“Even with all that happened, we still got the game to 9 points in the second half and were one stop away from really testing their resolve,” the coach continued. “It’s like I told our guys, we get another chance at them in January.”
Williams and fellow sophomore guard Arroyo Edwards led the Grizzlies in scoring with 12 points apiece. They were followed by freshman forward Justin Jamison with 11 and sophomore guard Jonathan Tshibuy with 10. Tshibuy recorded a double-double with 10 rebounds in addition to his points.
Iowa Western was led by Darien Williams with 21 points, Dinjiyl Walker with 16 and Deshawn Munson and Shakir Brown with 10 points apiece.
The Grizzlies will host Labette Community College, Parsons, Kan., at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 19, in the Joe Paul Evans Arena at the West Plains Civic Center. The game is being sponsored by the West Plains Civic Center, and fans are asked to bring plastic cutlery, paper plates and bottled water for the West Plains Christian Clinic to support the team’s community service project for the evening.
For more information about the Grizzly Basketball team, including complete statistics from the games, visit wp.missouristate.edu/grizzly/bb/.