Score: Missouri Valley 88, Evangel 71
Records: Evangel (6-4, 5-1), Missouri Valley (4-5, 2-3)
Location: Burns Athletic Center
MARSHALL, Mo. – Despite wiping out sizable leads in both halves, the Evangel men's basketball team saw its six-game win streak come to an end with an 88-71 loss to Missouri Valley Thursday evening at the Burns Athletic Center.
MVC scored 28 of the game's final 38 points over the last eight minutes of regulation, using an 8-0 scoring run to snap a 62-62 deadlock and take control for good. The Vikings received 19-point performances from Zion Fortune and Casey Cody-Jackson and shot 0.491 (26-of-53) from the floor to hand EU its first setback since Nov. 13.
Cade Coffman turned in a season-high 23-point effort for the Crusaders, who shot just 0.351 from the floor and connected on just 7-of-34 (0.206) tries from beyond the three-point arc.
EU jumped out to a 7-2 lead in the game's first four minutes thanks to a pair of Coffman buckets in the paint and a Josh Pritchett three-pointer. But the Vikings answered with 12 unanswered points as part of a 22-7 run that ultimately put them in front 24-14.
The Crusaders trailed 31-21 with just under five minutes to play in the opening half when Coffman's three kicked off a 14-2 outburst that vaulted EU back into the lead. Coffman finished the half with 16 points, but MVC took the momentum — and a 37-35 lead — into the locker room after Cody-Jackson buried a trey with just two seconds remaining.
Another big MVC run in the opening minutes of the second half put the Crusaders on their heels. Hayden Sprenkel sank a three to snap a 37-37 tie, and Jonathan Hall completed the 14-6 run with back-to-back baskets for a 51-43 cushion.
Fortune's second-chance three off of his own offensive rebound put the Vikings in command by eight at the 14:24 mark.
But the Crusaders had one more rally in mind, using a pair of Pritchett free throws as a springboard to a 10-2 spurt that leveled the score at 58-58 with just under 12 minutes left on the clock. Ryan Lofton's offensive board and putback two minutes later handed EU a 61-60 lead.
MVC's Cameron Lockett came up with a steal and transition basket at the 7:34 mark to flip the score one final time, then added a short jumper on the Vikings next possession to make it a 66-62 game. Cody-Jackson scored and Fortune converted two free throws for an eight-point lead once again.
EU would get no closer than seven the rest of the way, as the Vikings cashed in at the foul line to close out the victory. MVC connected on 13-of-14 attempts from the foul line over the final 5:41, with Fortune and Sprenkel each going 4-of-4 at the stripe.
Pritchett totaled 15 points and three assists, while Edriel Martinborough added 10 points for EU.
The Crusaders wrap up their three-game road stretch with a 4 p.m. game Saturday (Dec. 12) at Baker in Baldwin City, Kan.
For the latest information on Evangel Athletics, follow the Crusaders on Facebook at Facebook.com/EUAthletics, Twitter (@EUAthletics), or visit EvangelAthletics.com. Fans can also receive updates on the team by downloading the new Evangel Crusaders GamedayApp through Google Play.