No. 7 Motlow Bucks Split in Missouri, Jump Back into TCCAA Play This Weekend

Motlow State redshirt-freshman Leo Castillo, shown driving to the basket in a game earlier this season, scored 18 points and pulled down nine rebounds during the Bucks’ 111-75 win over Nationwide Academy Saturday in West Plains, Missouri. [Photo by Jeff Reed Photography]

After three weeks off for the holidays, the Motlow Bucks split a pair of games in Missouri over the weekend and will jump back into TCCAA conference play Friday with a trip to Harriman to face Roane State.

The Bucks (11-2, 5-0) are ranked No. 7 in the latest NJCAA poll. Motlow traveled to West Plains, Missouri, over the weekend, falling to No. 24 Missouri State-West Plains 94-82 Friday, then beating Nationwide Academy 111-75 Saturday.

Now that the season has turned over the 2018 calendar, men’s teams will play the first game of all remaining TCCAA men/women doubleheaders. Friday the Bucks and Raiders will tip off at 4:30 p.m. central time, with the women’s contest to follow. Saturday, Motlow will travel to Walters State in Morristown, with the Bucks and Senators set to tip at 1 p.m. central.

The Bucks’ two losses have both come on the road to ranked teams, and Friday’s loss to West Plains resembled the early season loss at No. 1 Northwest Florida State in that the Bucks did not shoot the ball well while the home team did.

Motlow shot too many three pointers and didn’t make near enough, connecting on only 9-34 for 26.5 percent. The Bucks made only 42 percent of their shots from the field and hit 9-17 free throws. With only four assists on 32 made shots, statistics show the Bucks did not share the ball especially well.

Isaiah Hart led all Motlow scorers with 26 points on 11-19 shooting and added four steals and three rebounds. Rashawn Fredericks added to his double-double streak, scoring 17 points with 14 rebounds. Kevonte Corley also secured a double-double, scoring 13 points with 10 rebounds, five steals and two assists.

Dillon Smith had six points and two rebounds, Anthony Yarbrough scored six and added two boards, Derrick Rayford had five points, and Hayden Edmondson hit a three pointer and grabbed a pair of steals.

Saturday’s win over Nationwide Academy featured a strong shooting performance and much better ball movement for the Bucks. Motlow led 44-26 at the half and pulled away in the final 20 minutes. The Bucks shot 57 percent from the field, hit 14-29 three pointers and 25-37 free throws, and dished out 14 assists with 15 steals.

Hart, a sophomore from Murfreesboro who leads the Bucks in scoring with a 21 points-per-game average, led the way with 24 points, seven assists, four steals and three rebounds. Smith added 23 points on 6-9 three-point shooting and had two steals, and Leo Castillo had his best game as a Buck, just missing a double-double with 18 points, nine rebounds, three assists and two steals.

Yarbrough broke into double figures with 11 points and five rebounds, Kin Webster scored 10, Corley had six points and 12 rebounds, Edmondson scored six with two assists, Chad Emmons had five points and four rebounds, Justin Hill scored five with five rebounds and three steals, and Zaire Swaby scored three points and had five rebounds.

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