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Pirates Pull Away to Hand Valor Road Setback

Pirates Pull Away to Hand Valor Road Setback

The Basics
Final: Park 88, Evangel 62 | Final Stats
Records: Evangel (13-6, 6-4); Park (9-6, 4-5)
Site: Breckon Sports Center

PARKVILLE, Mo. Led by a trio of 20-point scoring performances and a defense that forced 24 turnovers, Park handed Evangel its second consecutive Heart Conference defeat with an 88-62 decision over the Valor Wednesday evening at Breckon Sports Center.

Rodrigue Marthone's 22-point, 11-rebound effort paced a Pirate attack that used a 22-7 first-half run to establish a 19-point advantage. Park then pulled away late with a 21-5 spurt over the final 7:28, after the Valor had sliced the margin to single digits early in the second half.

Park's defense flustered an Evangel offense that entered the game averaging just 12.4 giveaways per contest into committing a season-high 24 turnovers. The Pirates also limited the Valor to 7-of-21 shooting from three-point range to hand EU just its third defeat in 10 true road contests this season.

Cory Reeves matched Marthone's 22 points, while Quez Williamson tallied 20 to go along with seven of the Pirates' 20 steals as a team. Ernest Myles III added a double-double of 16 points and 11 rebounds to power an offense that shot 34-of-70 (0.486) from the field.

The Pirates set the tone for the night by scoring the first eight points of the game, thanks to three-point plays from Marthone and Myles, before two more buckets by Myles extended the lead to 12-2 just three minutes into the contest. EU responded with eight unanswered points of its own, four straight points from Cade Coffman to pull to within a basket.

Coffman's three-pointer—the 180th of his Evangel career—made it a 17-13 game with 12:27 left in the period. But that proved to be as close as the Valor would get the rest of the night, as Reeves ignited a 12-0 outburst for the Pirates, who held EU to one field goal over a six-minute span to push their cushion into double digits.

The trio of Marthone, Williamson and Reeves combined to account for 20 of Park's 22 points during the Pirates critical run that ultimately handed them a 39-20 lead with just under four minutes to play in the half.

Park ended the half shooting 48.6 percent (17-of-35) from the floor, while forcing 13 EU turnovers.

The Valor showed some fight in the initial stages of the second half, using a 12-2 run to cut its margin to seven points on two separate occasions. Coffman's layup with 18:16 to play started the run, before the senior All-American sank two more triples to keep the momentum swinging in the Valor's favor.

But Reeves responded with a big three for the Pirates, sparking a string of seven straight points that doubled the home club's lead.

Evangel clawed back to within 10 points on a Stephen Salvi three-pointer with 7:49 left on the clock, but Reeves kicked off the game-clinching spurt with a successful jumper, before Marthone scored eight of the next 10 Park points to extend the lead to 20 with just over four minutes to play.

Coffman paced the Valor offense with a 21-point performance and moved up to the No. 14 spot on Evangel's career scoring chart (1,524 points), passing Shane Nicholson (1,519) with his 7-of-13 shooting effort.

LOOKING AHEAD
Evangel will look to right the ship Saturday (Jan. 22) when its returns to the Ashcroft Center for a 2 p.m., Heart Conference game against Mount Mercy.

For the latest information on Evangel Athletics, visit Facebook at Facebook.com/EvangelValor, Twitter (@EvangelValor), or EvangelAthletics.com. Fans can also receive updates on their favorite EU teams by downloading the Evangel Athletics Gameday App through the App Store or Google Play.

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