PERU, Neb. -- For the third time in four outings, the Missouri Valley College men's and women's basketball teams were swept in a Heart of America Conference doubleheader Saturday.
The Vikings trailed by 13 points at halftime and a late charge couldn't completely erase that deficit during an 86-79 loss. The Valley women were also down by double digits at the break and never got closer during their 65-53 defeat at the hands of the Lady Bobcats.
There were 14 lead changes in the first half of the men's game, the Vikings' largest edge being five points when senior James Pope converted a stick-back with 7:12 remaining.
Peru State answered with an 18-2 run begun by back-to-back three-pointers from junior Kody Kirkpatrick. A conventional three-point play by senior Derrick Williams gave the Bobcats an 11-point cushion with 1:51 left in the half.
With seven minutes to go in the game, Peru State was up by 17 points, but the Vikings rallied with a 15-6 stretch capped by Pope's bomb. Freshman Jordan Epps scored for Valley, the Bobcats missed a pair of free throws and a bucket by sophomore Kevin Stander whittled the margin to four points with 45 seconds remaining.
However, the Vikings were unable to hit another shot and Peru State made three of four from the charity stripe to lock down the win.
Kirkpatrick wound up with 27 points, making six of 11 three-point attempts, and junior Nate Bohy contributed 17 points and five assists as the Bobcats (7-8, 1-4 HAAC) got their first league win.
Epps had a game-high 28 points and Pope provided 16 points and seven rebounds for Valley (5-11, 0-4).
The Lady Vikings lost their sixth game in a row, their only lead coming on a shot by senior Gabi Morales 16 seconds into the contest. Peru State closed the first half with an 11-0 run for a 22-10 cushion, which never fell below 11 points during the second half.
The Lady Bobcats (6-10, 2-3), who only used six players, got 24 points and 23 rebounds from senior Courtney Ward.
Junior Brielle Martinez scored 13 points off the bench for Valley (4-12, 1-3), which hasn't shot as high as high as 40 percent from the field during its current skid.
The Vikings will be back in action Thursday with a HAAC twinbill at Central Methodist.