WEST PLAINS, Mo. – Double overtime threatened the perfect season for the Mineral Area men’s basketball team in a rescheduled Region 16 showdown on Monday night.
The sixth-ranked Cardinals were pushed to extra time for the third road game in a row, but once again emerged victorious, 91-88 over MSU-West Plains.
Mineral Area (19-0, 2-0) held the largest advantage of the game at just seven points after coming off a 50-point victory last Wednesday.
Sophomore guard Shaun Roundtree had a game-high 20 points and hit a go-ahead layup late in regulation.
Zac Cuthbertson and Lamar Morgan recorded 17 points apiece. Both forwards provided seven blocks despite having to sit late due to foul trouble.
Thomas gave Mineral Area a boost in the second overtime by throwing down an explosive dunk after dropping in the tying layup to start the period, He ended with 11 points.
Morgan followed by hitting his first 3-pointer of the game to go up 89-84 with 1:25 remaining. The Cardinals then made just enough free throws to close out the victory.
Freshman Stefan Lakic executed post moves well and topped all scorers with 30 points, including 19 in the first half.
Marcus Blackwell finished with 14 points, and his third 3-pointer briefly put the Grizzlies ahead 76-75 in double overtime.
Yannis Mendy, standing 6-foot-7, used size to his advantage for all 12 of his points down low.
Mineral Area had an opportunity to win in regulation after the Roundtree layup, but a putback attempt from Cuthbertson hung on the rim before falling off the cylinder to force overtime.
The Grizzlies took advantage of the foul trouble facing the Cardinals in extra minutes, and pounded the ball down low to score almost exclusively from the paint or free-throw line.
Lakic converted a finger roll with 1:30 in the first overtime, but Amar Miller answered with a physical layup to tie the game 80-80 with 30 seconds left.
MSU-West Plains looked to have stunned Mineral Area early with a very fast paced offense that it carried through the game.
The Cardinals took their first lead at 8:30 in the first half after Cuthbertson finished a layup with contact to go ahead 22-19.
Free throws kept the Grizzlies close, and would eventually give them a lead with two minutes to play before halftime.
But MAC responded for a 41-38 lead at the break, and looked to start pulling away, but MSU-West Plains began draining a variety of jumpers to stay in the game.
The Grizzlies came up empty on four consecutive possessions in the final two minutes of regulation.