No. 22 Clarke disposes of Vikings
DUBUQUE, Iowa -- The Missouri Valley College men's basketball team didn't have an upset in its bag Thursday during the Heart of America Conference Tournament.
The seventh-seeded Vikings never led in its quarterfinal clash at No. 22 Clarke, shooting a woeful 27.0 percent from the field during a 73-51 loss. That was the second-lowest rate of efficiency this season for Valley, which only made 26.1 percent of its shots Nov. 8 during a 63-43 loss to John Brown (Ark.).
Sophomore Keith Johnson got inside for a deuce and knocked down a three-pointer before the Vikings got on the board with a bomb from senior Tavious Brazil a minute-and-a-half into the contest.
The Pride was unable to shake Valley until a three from sophomore Gabe Shields and two more by Johnson began a 14-2 run capped by junior Josh Meier's lay-up for a 29-15 lead with 4:45 remaining in the first half.
Brazil and senior Tremont Moore scored to cut the Vikings' deficit to 11 points, but Clarke got treys from sophomore Dylan Kurey and Johnson send it into the break with a 15-point advantage.
Sophomore Nick Marshall opened the second period with a pair of buckets to widen the gap to 20 points. Junior Casey Cody-Jackson and Brazil made short shots to trim the margin to 17 points with 12 minutes left in the game, but buckets from Marshall and senior LaVeechie Williams put the Pride up by 23 points midway through the half.
A 9-2 stretch for Valley capped by a Brazil three-pointer with 8:12 to go got Valley to within 16 points and Cody-Jackson's long jumper narrowed the spread to 14 points at the 6:21 mark, but Johnson answered quickly. Clarke regained a 20-point lead and lost it only once, on senior Alonzo Williams' conventional three-point play, the rest of the way.
Johnson had 18 points, four steals and three blocks and senior Darius Lasley contributed a double-double with 14 points, 10 rebounds and six assists for the Pride (23-8). Second-seeded Clarke will host a semifinal clash Saturday against No.3 seed Peru State, a 73-62 winner over Baker.
Moore had 12 points and Brazil and Cody-Jackson each scored 10 for the Vikings (16-14), who improved upon their 12-18 record of a year ago. Valley loses to graduation four starters from its finale, returning only junior Dusaan Allen -- along with part-time starters Cody-Jackson and juniors D'Angelo Young-Pryor and Jhacobe Cochran.
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