The Missouri Valley College men's basketball team returned to Heart of America Conference action Saturday with a 72-64 home win over Avila, but the Lady Vikings suffered an 82-68 setback in the opener of the doubleheader.
The Eagles led by as many as seven points in the first half of the men's game, when junior Jerome Douglas nailed a three-pointer. Avila's advantage was still five points at the break, but it was quickly erased.
Valley began the second half with a three-pointer by senior Jelani Hicks to kick off an 11-2 run capped by junior Craig Jones' bomb. After a pair of lead changes, senior Boman Mullings broke a 45-45 tie with a stick-back.
That started another 11-2 surge, both Mullings and junior Brandon Toliver making a pair of shots to put the Vikings up by nine points midway through the frame.
Avila twice closed to within three points, but couldn't quite catch up. Down the stretch, Valley converted nine of 10 shots from the free-throw line, five made by senior Jay Elam, to seal the win.
Senior Martez Young topped the Eagles (4-11, 1-5 HAAC) with 15 points and 10 rebounds.
The Vikings (2-13, 2-2) were led by Mullings' 15 points, 10 boards and six steals. Toliver added 12 points, nine rebounds and six blocked shots -- Valley only sending seven players onto the court during the contest.
The Lady Vikings fell behind by eight points right out of the gate and never completely recovered. Avila opened up a 13-point spread before heading into halftime with an eight-point advantage.
After MVC trimmed the margin to five points early in the second half on inside buckets by seniors Bonnie Johnson and Nicole Allison, junior Emily Parker hit two shots and freshman Alyson Young made five free throws and a jumper to extend the Lady Eagles' cushion to 13 points.
Avila pushed the margin up to 18 points, but the Lady Vikings had one last rally left in them. Senior Theresa Gittens scored 10 points within a five-minute span, including a trey which cut the deficit to six points with three minutes to go.
However, Valley missed six straight shots and junior Ashley Townsend scored twice as AU put away the win.
Townsend, a 6-foot swing player from Orrick, had 20 points and 12 rebounds during the game. Avila (6-9, 2-4) was led by Young's 25 points.
Gittens finished with 14 points and four assists for the Lady Vikings (6-5, 3-2), who continued to experience some difficulties making shots -- shooting under 40 percent from the field for the fourth game in a row.
Valley will have a tough pair of games tonight in the Burns Athletic Center, hosting the top-ranked MidAmerica Nazarene men and the No. 24 Lady Pioneers.