As home openers go, it doesn't get much better than the 61-48 victory the Missouri Valley College men's basketball team posted Wednesday over Hannibal-LaGrange.
The Vikings rolled to a 15-point halftime lead and kept the visitors' deficit in double digits throughout the second half, limiting them to 36.0-percent shooting from the field. The Trojans' 48-point total was the lowest allowed by Valley against a non-conference foe since its 89-47 romp at Trinity International (Ill.) on Nov. 20, 2009.
The Vikings led from the start, scoring the game's first eight points -- the last pair by junior David Yadrich on a second-chance opportunity created by his offensive rebound.
The slimmest lead for Valley came after senior Chris Smith buried a three-pointer with 15:41 left in the first half to close the margin to 8-5, but goals from freshman Landers Riddle and sophomore Jim Thomas kept the Trojans from getting closer.
Hannibal-LaGrange would miss eight straight shots from the floor and turn the ball over three times before getting its next field goal with under nine minutes remaining, a conventional three-point play by senior Abraham Arinyakono closing the gap to seven points.
The Vikings scored the next eight points on a Yadrich bomb, lay-up by senior Bryan Corley and Thomas' outside jumper. Valley led by 18 points before sophomore Alistair McCann closed the half with a three for the Trojans.
The first half of the second frame was played to a draw, but three shots from junior Michael Connor -- the last one from beyond the arc -- extended the Vikings' cushion to 20 points with under seven minutes to go. Hannibal-LaGrange (1-3), which had no players score in double figures, would not come close to threatening the rest of the way.
Connor finished with 17 points and three assists, junior James Pope had 14 points and junior David Smith came off the bench to lead Valley with six rebounds and four steals.
The Vikings (1-1) will head to northwest Indiana on Friday to play in the Grace College Classic. Valley's opener will be against the host Lancers, the ninth-ranked team in NAIA Division II.