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58 Mount Mercy
69 vs. Evangel
Wed, Jan/26 Final - OT
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91 Evangel
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Pritchett Powers Valor Past Mount Mercy, 69-58

Pritchett Powers Valor Past Mount Mercy, 69-58

The Basics
Final: Evangel 69, Mount Mercy 58 | Final Stats
Records: Evangel (14-6, 7-4); Mount Mercy (13-8, 6-5)
Site: Ashcroft Center

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. Evangel outscored Mount Mercy 17-2 over the final 3:36 of regulation, overcoming a frigid shooting performance to pull out a 69-58 Heart Conference victory over the Mustangs Saturday afternoon at the Ashcroft Center.

The Valor erased a 15-point deficit and overcame a sluggish offensive effort that included a 0.286 (22-of-77) shooting mark for the contest. Led by Josh Pritchett's 18 second-half points, Evangel heated up when it mattered most, however, burying its final seven shots of the afternoon as part of the game's decisive run.

Pritchett, who led all scorers with 21 points, scored eight-straight points over a critical two-minute stretch that allowed Evangel to gain the upper hand for good. He opened the sequence by draining a three to pull EU to within 56-55 with 3:48 to play, then dialed long distance again from the right wing 43 seconds later to hand the Valor a two-point lead.

MMU's RoyShawn Webb tied the game with a putback of a Kenny Clay miss, but Pritchett followed with a successful drive to the basket to give EU a 60-58 lead with 2:06 left on the clock.

The Mustangs never scored again, as a steal and subsequent layup by Edriel Martinborough, and a 12-foot Jace Coffie jumper stretched the lead to six points. Evangel, which converted just 13 of its first 23 free-throw attempts of the game, then sank 5-of-6 charity tosses down the stretch to ice the victory.

EU's defense and work on the boards played pivotal roles in the outcome, helping offset a 44.4-percent shooting effort by the Mustangs. The Valor outrebounded the Mustangs by a 51-45 margin, but dominated the offensive boards (22-5) to register 16 second-chance points. EU also forced 18 turnovers, which it cashed in for 24 points—19 of which came in the second half.

The gutsy effort to close out its 14th win of the season followed a dismal start to the game that saw the Mustangs use their defense and an 11-0 scoring run to seize control early and build a double-digit lead. After a Manrique Alvarado free throw with 13:46 left on the clock pulled EU to within 8-5, Webb drilled a three-pointer and Bailey Basala converted a pair of field goals from close range as part of the early surge that resulted in a 19-5 bulge for the visitors.

EU, which started the game just 2-of-19 from the floor over the first nine minutes, recovered to trim the deficit to six points on a Cade Coffman jumper at the 8:02 mark. Mount Mercy pushed its lead to as many as 15 points before intermission, using a stifling defense that limited the Valor to 10-of-47 (0.213) shooting to build a 37-27 halftime advantage.

The start of the second stanza followed a similar pattern, as Evangel started 3-of-14 from the field and MMU once again claimed a 14-point lead.

But the Valor offense heated up, using a Martinborough trey, followed by a Pritchett steal and layup to slice the margin to 51-45 with just over seven minutes left on the clock. EU scored nine unanswered points in all to draw to within one on Alvarado's three-pointer at the 6:12 mark.

The Mustangs momentarily gained some breathing room via buckets by Webb and Basala to take a 56-52 lead.

But Pritchett and the Valor defense dominated the game's final minutes. Pritchett single-handedly outscored the Mustangs 10-2 over the stretch run, while the EU defense flustered MMU, which went 1-of-7 from the field and committed three turnovers over the final four minutes.

Alvarado added 10 points for the Valor, while Coffman and Coffie each contributed eight points and combined to corral 10 offensive boards and 20 total rebounds.

Webb paced Mount Mercy with 18 points and nine rebounds, and Basala added 16 points and nine boards.

Evangel will travel to Atchison, Kan., Wednesday (Jan. 26) for a 7:30 p.m., Heart Conference matchup against Benedictine.

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