JUCO basketball: No. 14 IHCC vs. No. 21 Moberly Area

Indian Hills sophomore Chris Childs brings the basketball up the court at Fitzsimmons-John Arena in Moberly, Missouri.

MOBERLY, MO – Chris Childs and Tyrese Nickelson each scored 12 points, including a pair of late field goals during an 8-0 run that helped 14th-ranked Indian Hills hold off No. 21 Moberly Area, 72-63, on Saturday night to close out the Bone and Joint Thanksgiving Classic at Fitzsimmons-John Arena.

“Winning at Moberly is a great team win for us,” Indian Hills head men’s basketball coach Hank Plona said. “It’s always hard to play there and Moberly plays a tough, unique style that makes them hard to beat at home.”

Indian Hills jumped out to a 14-6 lead as Maurice Calloo drilled a pair of 3-pointers and scored eight points for the Warriors. Moberly Area got back within 31-30 as a pair of Markelo Sullivan 3-pointers sparked a 13-2 run before five straight points from Childs helped IHCC finish the half scoring 10 of the final 12 points, building a 41-32 halftime lead.

“We got out to a great start and were able to survive some good runs that they made,” Plona said.

Indian Hills struggled to score from the field in the first eight minutes of the second half, hitting just one field goal as the Greyhounds rallied to tie the game at 44-44 on Tyrek Carpenter’s game-tying 3-pointer. Moberly Area caught the Warriors once again at 58-58 following a 6-0 run before a pair of free throws from Chris Payton with 4:15 left put the Warriors ahead for good.

“I thought we’d find out what we are made of at that point of the game,” Plona said. “To the credit of our kids, they picked it up a notch on defense and really executed some offensive plays to us back in front.”

Childs added his only 3-pointer of the second half with 1:35 left, giving IHCC a 64-58 lead. The Warriors put the game away from the free throw line with Nickelson drilling four straight at the stripe.

“Good teams take care of the basketball and make free throws late,” Plona said. “We were able to do that.”

Indian Hills finished 15-24 from the foul line on Saturday night. The Warriors had just 19 free throw attempts in the previous three games.

The Warriors (8-2) had five players score in double figures on Saturday. Calloo finished with 11 points while returning sophomores Tyon Grant-Foster and J.D. Muila each scored 10.

“Moberly is a team that will most likely be right back at Hutch (for the national tournament), so playing there is always a great measuring stick to see if we’re a Hutch-caliber team,” Plona said. “I think we proved the we have a chance to be that. I’m very proud of our guys and how we were able to bounce back and pick up two great road wins.”

Moberly Area (8-3) finished with a double-double, scoring a game-high 21 points while grabbing a game-high 14 rebounds. Indian Hills returns home for the Bowling R.V. Classic on Friday, facing Western Oklahoma State at 7 p.m.

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