SPRINGFIELD – It was one of those nights where everything seemed to go right for Missouri State, and an incredible 30-4 run in the second half propelled the home standing Bears to a 70-35 win over Loyola here Wednesday in Missouri Valley Conference action.
The Bears (9-11, 3-4 MVC) were led by Keandre Cook’s 21 points behind five 3-pointers, while Tulio Da Silva and Josh Webster dumped in 14 points apiece.
Missouri State out-rebounded the defending MVC champions by a 28-9 margin – the fewest rebounds allowed by any Division I team in a game this season – and no Loyola player had more than two.
Loyola’s rebound total was also the fewest ever by a team at JQH Arena, topping Valparaiso’s 19 boards set in 2012 by more than double.
MSU played compelled defense in the first half, holding the visitors to just eight field goals and taking a 30-24 lead at the game’s midway point. MSU made seven of its first nine shots to start the game and led 17-11 at the 12-minute mark. The home squad then built its lead to 20-11 on a triple by Jared Ridder with 10:25 to play in the half.
Loyola rallied with seven unanswered points to pull within two over the next four minutes, but Cook and Ryan Kreklow pushed Missouri State’s lead to double figures, 29-18, with three unanswered 3-pointers.
The Ramblers ended the opening stanza on a 6-1 run when Cook’s trey at the buzzer was waived off by the officials after reviewing the video replay.
But the second half was all Missouri State.
Webster and Da Silva opened the final period with daring 3-pointers to push the Bears’ advantage back to double figures, 36-24. Two minutes later LUC’s Cameron Krutwig scored a layup to make it 38-28 with 15:26 to go, but it would be Loyola’s last points for nearly eight minutes.
Meanwhile, MSU reeled off 16 unanswered and pushed its advantage to 54-28 before Krutwig finally snapped Loyola’s cold spell with 7:42 remaining. But the Bears weren’t done, scoring 14 of the game’s next 16 points with highlight reel dunks by Da Silva and Cook in that span to stretch their margin to as much as 36 points.
The win marked Missouri State’s largest margin of victory in a conference game since defeating Evansville, 76-38, at Hammons Student Center on Feb. 16, 2008.
The Bears shot season bests from the field (.634) and from 3-point range (.522), converting 26-of-41 shots overall and 12-of-23 from bonus distance. MSU was 6-of-8 (.750) at the foul line and tallied 13 assists and six steals.
Da Silva and Cook led MSU’s rebound dominance, snagging eight caroms apiece, while Darian Scott pulled down four boards off the bench. Webster also posted a game-high five assists.
Loyola was just 4-of-16 in the second half, scoring 11 points in the final stanza and finishing the night 12-of-35 (.343) from the field and 2-of-10 (.200) from long range. The Ramblers did manage to convert 9-of-11 (.818) at the foul stripe and committed 14 turnovers.
Krutwig led LUC with 15 points but did not have any rebounds, and Marques Townes posted 12 points on 5-of-9 shooting.
The Bears wrap up the two-game Valley home stand Saturday at 3 p.m. against Bradley on Hall of Fame weekend at JQH Arena. Tickets for the Bradley game are available now at MissouriStateBears.com or by visiting the Old Missouri Bank Box Office at JQH Arena, (417) 836-7678, during regular box office hours.