FREMONT, Neb. -- The Missouri Valley College men's basketball team bounced back from a first-round loss to take third place over the weekend in the Draemel Classic at Fremont, Neb.
The Vikings fell in Friday's opener to a strong Mount Mercy (Iowa) club, 92-65, but beat Kansas Wesleyan on Saturday, 74-67. The Mustangs edged host Midland for the tourney title, 75-74.
Senior Chad Underwood scored 13 of his 19 points during the first half to stake Mount Mercy to a 44-30 lead at the break. Valley was hurt on the defensive glass, as the Mustangs collected nine offensive rebounds for 18 second-chance points.
The Vikings were unable to pull closer than a dozen points during the second period.
Senior Lamar Wall buried four three-pointers on his way to a game-high 20 points for Mount Mercy (6-1), which controlled the boards by a 41-28 margin.
Senior David Smith came off the bench to lead Valley with 14 points, four assists, four blocked shots and three steals -- while also grabbing seven rebounds.
The Vikings shot a season-best 55.6 percent from the field the next day to beat Kansas Wesleyan.
Valley again got a standout performance from a sub, junior Jim Thomas tallying 16 points. He and sophomore Jordan Stapp had eight points during a first half in which the lead changed hands 10 times and the score was tied on five occasions -- including 35-35 at intermission.
After three lead changes early in the second frame, the Coyotes went up by six points. Then the Vikings went on a 21-5 tear, as junior Lawrence Brown made four buckets and freshman Jordan Epps knocked down three shots for a 69-58 lead with 3:02 remaining.
Wesleyan whittled the margin to four points with 47 seconds left, but then missed three attempts from long range. Sophomore Kevin Stander converted a pair of free throws and Thomas sank another to secure the victory down the stretch.
Junior Dane Brinker topped all scorers with 18 points for the Coyotes (2-5).
Brown had 16 points and collected seven boards for Valley (3-7), which begins Heart of America Conference play at home Thursday against Culver-Stockton.