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Vikings drop triple-OT thriller to MNU

Monday, January 14, 2013

The Missouri Valley College men's basketball team played one of the longest games in the history of the Burns Athletic Center on Saturday, but were beaten at the end of a triple-overtime slugfest by Heart of America Conference rival MidAmerica Nazarene, 111-109.

The Pioneers shot 61.9 percent from the field from the first half, but could only manage a one-point edge going into the break. The Vikings led by a point on senior James Pope's long-range jumper with 44 seconds remaining in regulation.

Junior Luke Thomas hit two free throws for MNU, while Valley freshman Jordan Epps made only one of two from the line in the closing seconds, to send the game into overtime.

Epps made up for that by tying to game from the stripe with 27 seconds left in the first OT after following up his missed shot. Pope converted two freebies with five seconds to go in the second extra period for a three-point MVC lead, but sophomore Jason Garretson beat the buzzer with a bomb to keep the contest going.

The Pioneers never led by more than a bucket in the third overtime, the final shot sank by senior Justin Collard with under 30 seconds remaining. Sophomore Kevin Stander tried to tie the game with a drive to the hole for Valley, but was fouled on the missed shot with under a second to go.

After the first free throw didn't go in, Stander missed the second on purpose in order to force a rebound and potential game-tying stick-back, but the ball went over the backboard and MidAmerica's successful inbound ended the game.

Senior Jacob French had 24 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Pioneers (14-5, 6-1 HAAC).

Epps had 26 points and junior Law Brown added 20 for the Vikings (6-12, 1-5).

The Valley women gave 11th-ranked MidAmerica a tough fight, but a second-half slump sent them to their eighth straight loss.

The Lady Vikings opened with an 8-2 surge and held seven-point leads three times in the first half. The Lady Pioneers used a 12-3 stretch to get back into the game and went into the break up by three points.

MidAmerica (16-2, 6-1) came out of halftime with a 20-1 run and didn't let the margin get closer than 16 points with rest of the way.

Senior Cara Clark scored a game-high 12 points off the bench for Valley (4-14, 1-5).

The Vikings will be at home today for a doubleheader against Benedictine.

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