MVC Viking Basketball Hosts Baker on Senior Day

Posted March 1, 2014

The Missouri Valley College men’s and women’s basketball teams hosted Baker University on Senior Day at the Burns Athletic Complex in a Heart of America Athletic Conference doubleheader. The MVC women gave No. 13 Baker University a fight, but fell 62-50. On the men’s side, the Vikings played into two overtimes but fell to Baker 80-77.


The MVC women’s team found themselves in an early 5-0 hole against the Wildcats in the first two minutes of the game, but bounced back with a run to take the lead. The Vikings outscored Baker 11-2 over a four minute span early in the first half to grab an 11-7 lead, with Sophomore Guard Rayna Smith (St. Louis, Mo.) capping the run off with a three-point field at the 14-minute mark. Baker chipped the MVC lead down to two points multiple times over the next few minutes, but MVC was able to build on its lead midway through the half, stretching it to seven points at 18-11 when Senior Forward Gabi Morales (Bakersfield, Calif.) hit a field goal with 10:30 to play in the first half. The Vikings maintained the advantage through the rest of the half, not allowing Baker to get any closer than four points. MVC was able to build up the lead to its largest point in the game at 27-18 with just over two minutes to play before halftime after another Morales field goal. However, Baker finished the half outscoring MVC by 7-3 margin in the closing moments, making it a 30-25 Viking lead at the break. MVC forced Baker into 16 turnovers in the first half, limiting the Wildcats to 37-percent shooting.


The second half started in the same fashion as the first half, with Baker able to outscore MVC in the opening minutes. The Wildcats scored 11 of the first 14 points of the second half, and with just over four minutes played after the restart, Baker led 36-33. MVC fought back, scoring four straight points, and went up 37-36 after Sophomore Guard Julia Vasquez (Earth, Texas) scored her two points in the game with less than 13-minutes to play. Baker was able to keep MVC from continuing its run, taking the lead back two possession later, and eventually building a 52-43 lead with just over 6:30 remaining in the game. The Vikings chipped away at the Baker lead, cutting it to 52-48 after Senior Forward Gabby Lovelace hit a free throw with five minutes left in regulation. However, the four point deficit was as close as MVC would get in the final minutes. Baker stretched its lead to 58-48 with four minutes to play and held off any Viking comeback attempt, defeating the Vikings 62-50.


Leading MVC was Morales who finished with 14 points, six rebounds and five blocks. Also, Lovelace added 12 points, six rebounds and three blocks. Smith came off the bench to score 12 points. MVC forced Baker into a season-high 32 turnovers, and limited the Wildcats to 37-percent shooting.


The loss ends the MVC regular season at 18-12 overall and 10-8 in conference play. The 10 conference wins marks the most for the program since winning 10 games during the 2007-08 conference season. Baker finishes the regular season at 24-5 overall and 17-1 in HAAC play and wins the HAAC regular season championship.


On the men’s side, Baker came out and took an early lead, scoring the first four points of the game. MVC responded with four-straight points of its own after Senior Jim Thomas (St. Louis, Mo.) scored on a three-point field goal. Baker responded and jumped out to a 10-4 lead at the 14-minute mark and held as large as a seven point lead at 15-8. Facing the largest deficit of the game, the Vikings turned things around and outscored Baker 16-4 over an eight minute span to grab a 24-19 lead with four minutes before halftime when Freshman Jacob Fletcher (Springfield, Mo.) hit a free throw. The Vikings maintained a lead throughout the rest of the first half, with Baker closing to within one point at 27-26 with 30-seconds to play in the half. MVC went into halftime with a 29-26 lead when Sophomore Jacob Powell (Marshfield, Mo.) hit a field goal as time expired. The Vikings forced Baker into 10 turnovers and kept the Wildcats to just 27-percent shooting.


MVC maintained its lead through the early stages of the second half, building a five point lead at 41-36 when Junior Brad Hamilton (Pittsfield, Mo.) hit a three-point field goal. Baker chipped away at the Viking lead and went on a 9-2 run over the next four minutes to put MVC into a 45-43 deficit at the 12-minute mark. Baker’s lead was short lived as MVC quickly jumped back out 48-45 following a Thomas three-point field goal midway through the half. Both teams traded baskets over the following six minutes, with neither team able to build up any larger than a three point lead. Baker was able to lead 62-58 with two minutes to play in regulations, and MVC still trailed by two points with 17-seconds remaining. With time winding down, Thomas drove to the hoop, was fouled and made his field goal attempt to tie the game at 63-63. Thomas made the ensuing free throw, giving MVC a 64-63 lead with seconds to play. Baker made one final drive to the hoop, resulting in a foul called on the Vikings. A free throw was made, tying the game at 64-64, which sent the game into overtime.


The first overtime period started with both teams trading baskets, leading to a one point lead for Baker at 70-69 with just over one minute to play. MVC scored the next four points, coming from a Powell field goal and two Hamilton free throws to put MVC up 73-70. Baker held the last possession of the overtime period, and with less than a second to play the Wildcats connected on a three-point field goal to tie the game at 73-73, sending the game into a second overtime period.


MVC led by two points at 77-75 when Junior James Lane (Cape Girardeau, Mo.) scored two of his eight points midway through the second overtime period. Baker finished the game scoring the next five points, all off free throws. Baker tied the game at 77-77, but a missed field goal with less than five seconds left fell was rebounded by the Wildcats. A last second shot from beyond half court resulted in a foul called on MVC, giving Baker three free throws with less than a second to play. All three free throws were made, and Baker held on for an 80-77 victory.


Leading the way for MVC was Hamilton who scored 19 points with five rebounds, five assists and three steals. Thomas had 17 points, while Powell added 11 and Junior Andre Scott (San Antonio, Texas) scored 10 points. MVC forced Baker into 23 turnovers in the game. MVC also had 27 bench points and scored 21 points off turnovers.


The loss drops MVC to 15-14 overall and 8-10 in HAAC play. The 8 conference wins in the most for the Vikings since 2010-11 season. Baker improves to 11-18 on the season and 5-13 in conference play.


The MVC women’s basketball team will enter the HAAC Postseason Tournament as the No. 5 seed, and will play at Benedictine College Thursday at 7 p.m., in Atchison, Kan. The men’s team will be the No. 6 seed and play at MidAmerican Nazarene University Wednesday at 7 p.m.



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