MVC Basketball Splits Doubleheader At Avila Thursday

Posted January 8, 2014



The Missouri Valley College men’s and women’s basketball teams went on the road for a Heart of America Athletic Conference doubleheader at Avila University in Kansas City, Mo. The women’s team fell to Avila in a high scoring 90-83 game, while the men’s team scored on a buzzer-beating layup to defeat Avila 74-72.


The MVC women’s team was able to grab an early 2-0 lead over Avila to start the game, thanks to a field goal by Junior Guard TaLaya Earls (Indianapolis, Ind.), however Avila was able to grab the lead, and build on it early in the first half. Avila eventually built up a 9-4 lead in the first six minutes of the game, but the Vikings were able to tie the game up at 11-11 with just over 11-minutes to play in the half after two free throws from Earls. MVC was able to retake the lead with just over eight minutes to play in the half after Sophomore Guard Julia Vasquez (Earth, Texas) scored three of her nine points to give the Vikings an 18-17 lead. The lead eventually grew to four points, but Avila was able to shrink the MVC advantage, and retake the lead at 25-24 with five minutes to play in the half. Avila moved its lead to as many as seven points in the final minutes of the half, but an 8-2 run by MVC as the half came to an end was capped by an Earls three-point play, and Avila held a 37-36 lead at halftime. MVC held Avila to just 34-percent shooting from the floor and forced Avila into six turnovers.


Despite MVC ending the first half on a run, Avila was able to maintain at least a five point lead through the early minutes of the second half. The Vikings were able to get to within one point at 50-49 with just over 14-minutes remaining in the game, however that’s as close as the Vikings would get in the second half. Avila was able to grow its lead, and had a double-digit advantage for the first time at 62-51 midway through the half. Avila maintained a double-digit lead through most of the half, until the final two minutes. MVC tried to mount a comeback, and got to within five points at 87-82 with 50-seconds to play, but Avila was able to hold on for a 90-83 win.


Leading the way for MVC was Earls who scored 33 points and grabbed nine boards. The 33 points is the most scored for the program since Bonnie Johnson scored 33 points against Central Methodist University in January of 2008. Earls was also 21 of 27 from the free throw line in the game. Both free throws made and free throws attempted school records for Earls, and are the most attempted by a HAAC student-athlete in the past ten years. Also in double-figures was Senior Forward Gabi Morales (Bakersfield, Calif.) who scored 12 points with six rebounds.


The loss drops MVC to 9-7 overall and 1-3 in HAAC play. Avila improves to 2-2 in HAAC play and 4-8 on the season.


The Viking men’s basketball team got themselves into an early deficit, as Avila scored the first four points of the game. MVC’s first lead came with just under 17-minutes to play in the when Junior Brad Hamilton (Pittsfield, Ill.) hit two free throws to give the Vikings a 6-5 lead. MVC’s next lead wouldn’t come until midway through the half when James Lane hit a two-point field goal to make an 18-17 Viking lead. The two teams traded baskets over the next few minutes until Avila grabbed a 31-30 advantage with just under three minutes to play in the half. However, the Vikings dominated the final minutes of the half, finishing things with an 11-0 run capped off by an Junior Andre Scott (San Antonio, Texas) three-point field goal to put MVC up by double-digits at 41-31 at halftime. The Vikings shot over 47-percent from the floor in the half, and forced Avila into nine turnovers. MVC also beat Avila in rebounding by a 25-13 margin.


MVC’s lead was knocked down to single-digits in the opening moments of the half, but the Vikings were able to stay on top of Avila until midway through the second half. Avila eventually tied the game at 57-57 and took its first lead since late in the first half at 60-59 with just over eight minutes to play in the game. The Eagles held a slim lead through the final minutes of the game, but a two-point field goal by Junior James Lane (Cape Girardeau, Mo.) with just over one minute to play put MVC back to within one point at 71-70. The ensuing Viking possession ended in a turnover, and eventually a free throw by Avila to put MVC down by two points with just seconds remaining. Trailing by two points with less than 10-seconds remaining, Hamilton drove to the basket and was fouled. Hamilton made both his free throws with seven seconds to play to tie the game at 72-72. Avila looked to have the final shot of regulation, but a turnover at midcourt ended up in Andre Scott’s hands, and Scott had a clear path to the basket. Scott was able to make a layup just before the buzzer sounded, and the Vikings came away with a 74-72 victory.


Leading the way for MVC was Hamilton who finished with 18 points, four assists and three rebounds. Scott finished with 17 points, five assists, three steals and three rebounds. Also in double-figures as Lang who scored 13 points and nine rebounds, while Sophomore Raviel Burton (St. Johns, Antigua) recorded his sixth double-double of the season with 10 points and 13 rebounds. MVC dominated Avila on the boards, by a 44-28 margin, while the Vikings limited Avila to just 37-percent shooting. The Vikings shot well from the free throw line, going 17 of 20.


The win improves MVC to 9-6 overall and 2-2 in HAAC play. Avila falls to 2-11 on the season and 0-4 in conference play.


Up next for the MVC basketball programs is a home doubleheader with Peru State College Saturday at the Burns Athletic Complex. Women’s game tips off at 2:00 p.m., and the men’s game is scheduled to start at 4:00 p.m.


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