WEST PLAINS, Mo. — A early barrage of 3-point shots in the second half helped MSU-West Plains take control after visiting Mineral Area put forth a formidable challenge on Saturday night.
Arroyo Edwards scored 21 points in a reserve role, and Devauntah Williams netted 18 as the Grizzlies pulled away for an 82-66 region win.
Justin Jamison dropped 16 points and Jeremiah Jackson added 15 as MSU-West Plains (13-7) buried 8-of-11 attempts from long range after halftime.
Mineral Area (10-9) again featured a depleted roster. While leading scorer Anthony Virdure was unavailable, Cris Craig returned to score a game-high 22 points after missing the previous 11 games with an injured knee.
Craig sank back-to-back threes to bring the Cardinals within 44-42, but the Grizzlies received a transition dunk from Edwards and follow slam by Jamison to create a 59-49 margin with nine minutes to play.
The Cardinals have struggled to find interior scoring throughout the season, but forward De’Aires Tate emerged during the action to score a season-high 18 points including three second-chance baskets.
Aaron Cassell netted a 3-point play and mid-range jumper during a 7-0 run that gave MAC an early 15-14 advantage.
Craig ended a series of lead changes with consecutive 3-pointers, and the Cardinals restored a 27-23 lead when Orlando Johnson finished a spin move along the low block.
West Plains rallied before the break with a Jackson triple and surged ahead 32-29 after Edwards scored on an athletic drive. The Grizzlies would not surrender the lead from there.
Mineral Area faced a difficult assignment with its first three scheduled Region 16 games on the road, and will look to salvage a needed win next Saturday at Moberly.