LAMONI, Iowa -- The Missouri Valley College men's and women's basketball teams closed out the first half of the Heart of America Conference campaign Saturday by eking out wins at Graceland.
Both games went down to the wire with Valley holding on to slim leads, the men holding on for a 75-74 decision and the Lady Vikings winning, 60-57.
The Yellowjackets twice had seven-point leads in the first half of the men's game, but an 18-3 run over a six-minute span -- keyed by a pair of three-pointers from freshman Jordan Epps and junior Law Brown's three buckets -- put Valley in front by eight points.
The Vikings got the margin up to 10 points during the second half, but Graceland charged back with three bombs for 14-4 stretch to tie the contest with under 10 minutes remaining.
The lead changed hands twice, with Valley pulling in front on sophomore Kevin Stander's trey with 2:40 left. Senior James Pope scored inside and Epps sank a free throw for a four-point lead with 32 seconds to go, but the Vikings missed their next four charity shots.
Fortunately for Valley, the 'Jackets (5-15, 2-7 HAAC) didn't score again until senior Alex Roth drained a last-second three to finish with a team-high 21 points.
Epps had 23 points and five assists and junior Jim Thomas added 14 points off the bench to give the Vikings (9-12, 4-5) a season-best three-game win streak.
The Valley women found themselves down six points at halftime, but freshman Rayna Smith and senior Cara Clark each made a pair of baskets during an 8-1 surge which tied the game midway through the second period.
Smith's conventional three-point play with 1:30 left put the Lady Vikings in front by four points, with two Clark freebies and another by senior Sami Jackson at the 26-second mark made it a three-possession lead, so that two goals from senior Anna Belousova in the final 10 seconds wasn't enough for Graceland.
Junior Jerica Smith scored 22 points and collected 10 rebounds to lead the Lady Yellowjackets (2-15, 0-9).
Clark also finished with a double-double, 18 points and 11 boards, as Valley (6-15, 3-6) won back-to-back games for the first time this season.
The Vikings will begin their second circuit through the loops Thursday at Culver-Stockton.