Bears snap skid, chop Sycamores 81-62

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. – Missouri State came out of the gates scorching and never looked back in an 81-62 road win over Indiana State here Tuesday in Missouri Valley Conference play.

Alize Johnson led the Bears (16-10, 6-7 MVC) with 28 points, 8 rebounds, 5 assists and 4 blocks on the night. He also converted 5-of-9 from 3-point range to help Missouri State drop in 11 buckets from bonus distance on the night.

Jarred Dixon added 13 points, Jarrid Rhodes scored 11, and Obediah Church snagged 9 rebounds to help MSU snap a five-game losing streak.

The Bears’ 12 blocked shots – including 4 by Tanveer Bhullar – was the most ever by MSU under head coach Paul Lusk and just two shy of the program’s record of 14 set in 1990.

Brenton Scott scored 19 for the Sycamores (11-14, 6-7 MVC), and Jordan Barnes scored 12. The backcourt tandem knocked down five and four 3-pointers, respectively, for the home side.

Missouri State scored the game’s first nine points and parlayed that early momentum into a 36-25 halftime advantage.

After a trey by Johnson to start the game, J.T. Miller scored MSU’s next six points before the Sycamores got on the board for the first time at the 14:55 mark.

ISU trimmed the Bears’ lead to 13-8, but the Bears took off again with seven unanswered points to push ahead by 12 at the midway point of the opening half. A close-range bucket by Church and a 3-pointer by Ryan Kreklow pushed the Bears ahead 20-8.

Dixon led another MSU run after back-to-back treys by Barnes got the Sycamores within 20-14. The junior Bear scored on a runner and then kissed the glass with a runner to make it 26-14 at the seven-minute mark, MSU’s biggest lead of the first stanza.

Rhodes and Dixon would knock down 3-pointers later in the half to give the Bears a 32-21 lead before the under-four media break. Then, Dixon ended his 11-point first half with a layup before the buzzer to give Missouri State an 11-point lead at the intermission.

The second-half started with Mustafa Lawrence scoring the first five points out of the break to give the Bears their biggest lead to that point, 41-25.

Back-to-back triples by Barnes eight minutes into the second half brought Indiana State within 50-42, but a rare four-point play by Johnson followed headed into the 11:21 media timeout, and the Sycamores never got closer than 11 the rest of the way.

Missouri State finished 32-of-66 (.485) from the field, 11-of-32 (.344) from 3-point range and 6-of-8 (.750) at the foul line. The Bears out-rebounded the Sycamores by a 42-39 margin and committed just 10 turnovers.

Indiana State turned the ball over 13 times and shot just 30.2 percent from the field on 19-of-63 shooting. ISU was also 10-of-28 (.357) from 3-point range and 14-of-17 (.824) from the stripe.

The victory gave the Bears a season sweep of ISU for the second straight season.