SEDALIA – The opening moments of the game looked like it would be another home team win by State Fair as Marcus Artison blocked Mineral Area College’s first shot, and then scored on the other end of the court to give the Roadrunners the early lead. But most of the game would belong to the Cardinals as they posted a 96-65 win over their regional opponent.
MAC’s Lorenzo Gordon answered on the Cardinals’ end of the floor, but State Fair hit a three to retake the lead, David Bryant sank two free throws, but Artison matched them with his second basket on the night. On their next possession, the Cardinals attacked the basket unsuccessfully, but were able to pull down three offensive rebounds, with the third one being a feed from Gordon out to J.T. Williams for a tying three pointer, 7-7.
Artison scored on two straight slam dunks, but Williams tied it up again at 13-13. After a basket by David Bryant, Gordon slammed one home to give Mineral Area a 17-13 lead, which they would not relinquish. The Cardinals went on a 12-2 run to take a 10-point lead on an NBA three by Chris Springer forcing State Fair to call time.
State Fair was plagued by turnovers, and Mineral Area made them pay. Gordon made the lead 12 points on a hook shot. After Bryant hit a two and drew the foul, State Fair called for a second time-out.
Gordon scored two along with two free throws to give him 15 points with only 15 minutes played. Antwon Hawkins put an exclamation mark on the Cardinals pull-away with a breakaway slam dunk. Williams hit a three on MAC’s next possession to give the Cardinals a 17-point lead where it stayed until the break, 49-32.
The Cardinals took off at the start of the second half where they had left off in the first. Williams hit his third three and after one minute into the second half, Gordon missed his first shot already with 23 in the game.
The Cardinals went up by 20 on a shot by Mario Brown, and the Cardinals were having their way on offense as they increased the lead to 30 after two baskets by Bryant and a basket by James Stingley made it 74-44 with seven minutes still left in the game.
Mineral Area matched bucket for bucket with State Fair, with the host team not pressing the issue. Two baskets late in the game by the Cardinals’ Branko Veljovic finished the scoring for both teams.
Gordon led the Cardinals with scoring with 33 points, Williams had 20, and Bryant scored 11 points. Springer and Brown each scored eight points, Hawkins scored six, and Veljovic had four. Stingley and Ryan Byrne each scored two points.
The Cardinals will play State Fair again on Thursday in the opening game of the Regional play-offs.