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Valley second in Tennessee tourney

Monday, November 21, 2011

MC KENZIE, Tenn. -- The Missouri Valley College men's basketball team split two games over the weekend to finish second in the McDonald's Classic at McKenzie, Tenn.

The Vikings defeated McKendree (Ill.) on Friday, 77-64, before falling to host Bethel in Saturday's championship contest, 76-57.

Valley had its best shooting game of the season against the Bearcats, denying head coach Harry Statham another notch on his college basketball record 1,046 wins. The Vikings made 45.5 percent of their field-goal attempts to take a 33-27 lead, then improved during the second half by sinking 64.0 percent from the floor -- along with going seven of seven from the free-throw line.

McKendree was limited to 35.4 percent shooting from the floor and had 21 balls stolen among 24 turnovers. Junior John Steppe topped the Bearcats (3-2) with 13 points and five assists.

Five players scored in double figures for Valley, sophomore Jim Thomas logging 15 points plus dishing out six assists and juniors Michael Connor and David Yadrich tallying 13 points apiece. Junior James Pope pulled down nine rebounds as the Vikings controlled the boards by a 38-31 margin.

During the title clash, Valley wasn't able to contain sophomore Caleb Hardy, who rang up 20 points for the Wildcats. The Vikings' shooting also wasn't on a par with the previous night, converting only 35.2 percent of their tries.

Bethel (6-2) led by eight points at halftime and sank six of 10 three-pointers to pull away further during the second half for its third straight win.

Connor had 12 points and senior Bryan Corley and junior David Smith combined for 21 points for Valley, which was on the wrong end of both rebounding (44-34) and turnover (23-21) margins.

The Vikings (2-4) will be at home Tuesday for a non-conference meeting with 14th-ranked Columbia.



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