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STLCC Rally Comes Up Short against Missouri State-West Plains

February 04, 2015

Jeremy Vergas  
Jeremy Vergas came off the bench to contribute 11 points
in the Archers' 71-68 loss to Missouri State University-
West Plains Feb. 4.

The ball simply wouldn’t fall.

In a game that was less than a minute away from being the signature win of a tumultuous season, the Archers’ fate against Missouri State University-West Plains rested in a series of four free throws within the game’s final 30 seconds. The Archers missed three, and lost by the same margin, 71-68.

The Archers, who dropped to 10-13 overall with the loss, positioned themselves in their advantageous spot on the free-throw line by rallying from what was once a 12-point deficit midway through the second half. But instead of collecting their second straight victory, the Archers were left considering what may have been.

“It would have been something to get a win against a big Division I program like that, but we won’t see any teams like that in the regional (tournament),” head coach Randy Reed said. “We’re just focusing on getting ready for the regionals and getting ready for March.”

The game did feature several bright spots, among them the diverse offensive attack. Four different players scored in double figures, including 11 points from freshman guard Jeremy Vergas off the bench.

The Archers narrowed their first-half deficit to 35-33 with a basket on their final possession of the first half. After watching West Plains surge to a 49-37 lead in the second half, the Archers stormed back, largely on the strength of freshman forward Donald Stribbling, who accounted for seven points in a 10-2 Archer run.

“It builds character, and it shows that when we play well, we can play with some really good teams,” Reed said.

After grabbing a 67-64 lead, however, the Archers were unable to put the game away as Jake Hensel, Sean Robinson and Rashad Jordan all were unable to sink their free throws in the game’s final minute. West Plains capitalized with a three-point play on their final possession to claim the road victory.

The Archers return to action Saturday, when they will take on North Central Missouri College at 3 p.m. The Archers dropped the only other meeting between the two teams this year, 93-89 on Jan. 24.