What Wabash Valley could do on Saturday was hit free throws - 34 of 42 of them - against Moberly Area, Mo.
It’s what the Warriors could not do that cost them in a 99-74 non-conference loss at Spencer Sports Center.
WVC (5-4) was almost devoid of inside points against the talented Greyhounds, who sport 10 sophomores and four Division I transfers. Only five baskets came from under the arc line in the game, and just one - a Tyrone Sherman layup - in the second half.
“That’s one of the best teams we’ll see all season,” said Wabash Valley coach Mike Carpenter. “We could play them 10 times and I’m not sure how many times we would beat them right now. We’re young and are still trying to establish ourselves. We’ll keep improving on things.”
Wabash trailed by 10 points at intermission, 54-44, after putting together a 20-10 surge at the close of the half against the red hot visitors.
“We felt good at halftime. They shot an incredible percentage in the first half (62 percent),” Carpenter said. “We felt if we continued to guard they would cool off.”
The Greyhounds did, but only to 46 percent over the final 20 minutes, for a game total of 54 percent.
Jahmal Johnson’s two free throws seconds into the second half pulled WVC to within eight points, but they would get no closer. Moberly’s Jaysean Paige, who finished game-high with 32 points, scored 11 points during a 23-10 run that put the game back in the Hounds corner.
WVC was handcuffed by Moberly’s trapping zone defense, which made getting the ball to the inside that much tougher. Tyrone Sherman was the only weapon available, but even his 23 second-half points could not stem the tide.
Sherman finished with 27 points, while Jaquan Lynch added 18.
Evan Singletary had 17 points for Moberly (8-1), coached by former Warrior mentor Pat Smith.
Meanwhile, the Warriors struggled from the floor, their 20 percent accuracy in the second half bringing their final mark to just 30 percent on 15 of 50.
As the game wore on, Carpenter’s personnel options were limited. Sam Thompson suffered a shin injury in the second half and did not re-enter. Blake Cesinger, who was ill, got only four minutes of playing time, while double-digit scorer Keith Collins won’t be available until after the break. “We had
about seven guys in the second half,” Carpenter said.
The Warriors fared much better at the foul line, on 34-of-42 accuracy, than they did on Thursday against Southwestern, when 21 of 37 tries missed the mark.
WVC returns to GRAC play on Tuesday at Southeastern Illinois. The women’s game begins at 5:30 p.m. followed by the 7:30 p.m. men’s tilt.