MVC Viking Basketball Sweeps Graceland Thursday Night

Posted February 6, 2014

Media Relations Contact:

Andy Pulverenti, sports information director, (660) 831-4230,




Marshall, Mo. (February 6, 2014)- The Missouri Valley College men’s and women’s basketball teams hosted Graceland University in a Heart of America Athletic Conference doubleheader Thursday evening at the Burns Athletic Complex. The MVC women’s team turned a close at halftime into a comfortable 76-54 victory while the men’s team scored the most points of the season en route to a 99-80 win.


MVC and Graceland played a close first half, as neither team could build any larger than a five point advantage. Graceland took early control of the game, jumping out to a 7-4 lead in the first four minutes, but The Vikings responded by scoring four straight points to grab an 8-7 lead with five minutes gone in the first half after Junior Guard TaLaya Earls (Indianapolis, Ind.) hit two free throws. Graceland answered the Viking response, and rattled off seven of the next eight points to put MVC into a 14-9 deficit with 13-minutes to play before halftime. The Vikings eventually tied the game up at 14-14 after Senior Forward Gabby Lovelace (Pleasant Hill, Mo.) scored two of her six points midway through the half. MVC was able to regain the lead two minutes later when Sophomore Guard Rayna Smith (St. Louis, Mo.) hit a three-point field goal to put MVC up 21-19. MVC built up its largest lead with five minutes to play in the half when Lovelace sank two free throws to make it a 25-21 game. Graceland came back and score six of the next seven points to go up 27-25 with two minutes to play, but the Vikings were able to take a lead into the halftime break after Senior Forward Gabi Morales (Bakersfield, Calif.) sank two free throws to put MVC ahead 29-28.   The Vikings limited Graceland to just 28-percent shooting in the first half while forcing eight turnovers.


MVC controlled much of the second half. The Vikings went on a 9-0 run in the first five minutes of the half to push a one point lead into a 40-30 advantage when Morales sank a field goal with 15-minutes to play. Graceland was able to chip away at the MVC lead, shrinking it to just point at 42-41 with 12-minutes remaining in the second half. The Vikings put together its most impressive stretch from that point, scoring 19 of the next 23 points to its lead to 61-45 after Junior Guard Paris Johnson (Kansas City, Kan.) sank her third-straight three point field goal. MVC maintained its double-digit lead throughout the rest of the game, eventually leading by as many as 22-points at 69-47 with three minutes remaining, before eventually coming away with a 76-54 victory.


Leading the way for MVC was Morales who had 17 points and seven rebounds. Earls finished with 10 points and nine rebounds, while Smith and Johnson came off the bench for 12 points and 13 points respectively. The Vikings shot over 66-percent in the second half, including 55-percent on three-point attempts. MVC forced Graceland into 19 turnovers in the game and limited the Yellowjackets to just 29-percent shooting. MVC outrebounded Graceland by a 52-37 margin.


MVC snapped a two-game losing skid and improved to 14-9 overall and 6-5 in HAAC play. The Vikings already eclipsed last year’s win total in conference. Graceland falls to 9-9 on the season and 5-6 in HAAC play.


The Vikings jumped out on the Yellowjackets early in the men’s game, building up a 15-7 lead with just over 16-minutes to play in the first half following three of Senior Jim Thomas’ (St. Louis, Mo.) seven points. The Vikings maintained at least a four point lead through the early stages of the half, but built their first double-digit lead at 25-13 when Junior Andre Scott (San Antonio, Texas) hit a three-point field with a little more than 12-minutes remaining in the half. The Vikings continued to add to their lead, eventually holding as large as a 17-point advantage multiple times midway through the half. Graceland eventually got to within 12 points at 35-32 with nine minutes until halftime, but the Vikings responded by scoring eight of the next 12 points, and stretched the lead back to 17 points when Junior Jonathan Bird (Farmington, Mo.) scored two of his three points with just under four minutes to play in the half. Graceland put together a run in the final minutes before halftime, outscoring MVC 12-6 over the final 3:30, and the Vikings went into the halftime break with a 47-38 lead. The Vikings shot over 56-percent in the first half, and outrebounded the Yellowjackets by a 22-14 margin.


The second started off with both teams trading baskets in the first few minutes. MVC built up a 53-40 advantage near the 17-minute mark after Junior Brad Hamilton (Pittsfield, Mo.) hit one of his seven three-point field goals, but Graceland was able to quickly shrink the Viking lead to just eight points less than two minutes later. MVC was able to maintain its lead, and gradually built on the advantage over the next four minutes, eventually taking the first 20-point lead at 74-54 with just under 13-minutes to play off another Hamilton three-point field goal. The Viking lead eventually stretched to its largest margin at 79-57 with 12-minutes to play in the game following another Hamilton three-pointer. Graceland was able to draw closer, at 79-65 midway through the half, but that’s as close as they would get. MVC held off any potential late game rally by Graceland, and eventually cruised to a 99-80 victory.


The 99 points is the most scored by MVC in regulation since defeating Peru State College 101-81 on Nov. 14, 2005. Leading the way for MVC was Hamilton who scored 23 points and tied a career-high with seven three-point field goals. This is the seventh game in which Hamilton has scored at least 20 points. Junior James Lane (Cape Girardeau, Mo.) finished with his second-straight double-double scoring 18 points and grabbing 13 rebounds. Also in double-figures were Senior Kendall Hays (Houston, Texas) with 14 points and Scott who scored 11 points with four steals. Thomas finished with seven points, seven rebounds and eight assists. The Vikings shot over 48-percent in the game and over 46-percent from three-point range. MVC outrebounded Graceland 49-38 and finished with a 22-11 assist to turnover ratio.


The win improves MVC to 12-10 overall and 5-6 in HAAC play. The Vikings have already topped their conference win total from last season. Graceland falls to 12-10 overall and 4-7 on the conference.


The MVC basketball teams hit the road Saturday to Olathe, Kan., for a HAAC doubleheader with MidAmerica Nazarene University. The MVC women’s team will meet up with No. 7 MNU at 2:00 p.m., while the men’s game tips off around 4:00 p.m.



About Missouri Valley College

Known for its dynamic, richly diverse, and friendly educational environment, Missouri Valley College offers many opportunities to grow in mind, body, and spirit. Grounded in the liberal arts, undergraduate studies empower students to master interdisciplinary skills needed to succeed in a knowledge-based global society. MVC offers over 40 academic programs, study abroad program, honors program, extracurricular activities, and 13 sports. The most popular majors include education and business, and some new majors are ag-business, nursing, graphic design, and health information systems (associate degree). Above all, Valley is committed to student success. For more information, call (660) 831-4000 or visit


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