TERRE HAUTE, IN – Indiana State overcame a slow start by grinding away in the second half but eventually came up short to visiting Missouri State by the score of 73-68 in front of 3,875 fans inside Hulman Center.
The Sycamores fell to 7-12, 1-6 MVC while the Bears improved to 13-7, 4-3 MVC. It ended a streak of seven consecutive seasons with the two teams splitting the season series.
Brenton Scott led the way for the Sycamores with 27 points as he hit 4-of-8 shots from long range and added a team-high eight rebounds. He was the only Sycamore to reach double figures scoring as Laquarious Paige and Brandon Murphy posted seven points. Also with seven points was senior TJ Bell in his return to the active roster. Neils Bunschoten connected on a pair of 3-pointers late in the game. Everett Clemons added six assists for the Sycamores with two steals.
Indiana State started slow with a 34.5 percent mark from the field in the first half before recovering for a 16-of-36 effort (44.4 percent) after halftime. For the game, the Sycamores converted 26-of-65 shots, including eight 3-pointers (40.0 percent) while the Bears also hit eight 3-pointers and hit 24-of-56 attempts (42.9 percent). The Bears owned a 44-33 edge on the glass, but the Sycamores used nine offensive rebounds to enjoy a 16-9 edge in second chance points.
Jarred Dixon scored first for the Bears, but Matt Van Sycoc countered with a driving lay-up. After Alize Johnson hit a 3-pointer, Scott answered with a 3-pointer to knot the score at 5. The Bears then went on an 8-0 run before Bronson Kessiner scored on a tip-in at the 15:57 mark to trim the Bear lead down to 13-7. The Sycamores used a 6-0 run late in the first half to trim a 13-point Bears lead to just 26-20 on consecutive buckets from Paige and then a lay-up by Scott with 5:01 left in the half. Scott connected on a jumper with 1:10 remaining to get within 11 points but Dequon Miller answered with a jumper before the half to take a 39-26 lead. Scott led the way for the Sycamores with nine points at the break.
ISU scored first after the half on a jumper from Scott, but Johnson and Church each tallied buckets as they took a 43-29 lead heading towards the first media timeout of the second half. Bell and Scott scored on two trips in a row before Miller hit a 3-pointer with 15:03 remaining to restore the lead. Donovan Franklin would answer with a 3-pointer of his own at the 13:59 mark to start a 5-0 mini-run which edned with a Bell lay-up and ISU was within 46-38 with 13:16 remaining. After Miller staked the Bears to a 10-point lead, Scott hit consecutive 3-pointers and then Murphy added a dunk with 9:41 to go as the Bear lead shrunk to 50-46.
A driving lay-up from Clemons with 4:25 left got ISU within three points at 57-54 and twice buckets from Scott and Bunshoten in the final minute got the Sycamores within three points. Jarrid Rhodes converted a pair of charity tosses with 34 seconds to go to stretch the MSU advantage out to 70-65 before Scott buried a 3-pointer with 20 seconds to go which got it down to a one possession game at 70-68. Ryan Kreklow hit 1-of-2 3-pointers with 19 seconds on the clock as the Bears took a 3-point lead. Scott brought the ball down the floor and took advantage of Bears slip on the defensive end as he took a wide-open 3-pointer which drew iron and bounced high off the backboard. Clemons tried to make a heroic save but the ball went back to Missouri State where they hit the remaining free throws for the 73-68 victory.
Alize Johnson finished the game with 26 points and 20 rebounds for the Bears.
Indiana State now begins a two-game Missouri Valley Conference road swing when they travel to Wichita State on Saturday, January 21. Tip-off is set for 3:00 p.m. (ET).