EVANSVILLE, Ind. – Led by a career-high 23 points from Isiaih Mosley and 19 points by Keandre Cook, Missouri State rallied in the second half to top Evansville, 68-58, here Saturday afternoon.
The Bears (9-10, 3-3 MVC), who trailed by as many as seven in the second half, held Evansville to just 38.6 percent shooting for the game and matched the Aces on the glass, 33-33, to break a brief two-game conference skid.
Gaige Prim also added 12 points for the Bears, with Mosley securing a game-high 8 rebounds and Cook distributing 4 assists.
Evansville (9-10, 0-6 MVC) was led by K.J. Riley with 21 points, but only four in the second half, as their only player in double figures in the scoring column.
The Aces led by five at the intermission, then extended their lead to 37-30 on the first bucket of the second half with a layup from Riley. Then it was time for the Bears to make their move.
Ford Cooper Jr. hit a pull-up jumper to ignite an 8-0 MSU rally, capped with a third-chance bucket by Josh Hall that made it a 38-37 game less than five minutes into the second half. Evansville’s Sam Cutliffe scored the game’s next four points to briefly return the lead to the home side. Dana Ford’s squad then reeled off 10 straight points over the next three minutes to take a 48-41 advantage and it lead it would never relinquish.
Cooper again started the outburst, making all three free throws on a fouled 3-point attempt, before a couple of transition baskets from Mosley and a layup by Prim. Before the under-eight media timeout, Evansville would make it a 48-46 game, but Missouri State responded with a layup by Prim and a clutch triple from Cook on a pass from Kabir Mohammed.
Missouri State was 6-for-6 at the foul line in the last 68 seconds to lock up its second Valley road win of the season, including four by Cook and two by Cooper who finished with 3 assists and no turnovers in his second straight start.
The Bears were 26-of-55 (.473) from the field overall, 7-of-18 (.389) from beyond the arc, and 9-of-10 (.900) at the foul line with 20 fast-break points and 26 points in the paint.
Evansville finished 22-of-57 (.386) from the field, 6-of-27 (.222) from long range, and 8-of-9 (.889) at the stripe with 13 turnovers.
In the first half, the teams traded punches for most of the half, but a 7-2 run by Evansville midway through the period erased a 17-16 MSU lead, and the Purple Aces led the rest of the half. Riley scored 17 points in the first half with 5-of-7 shots and all six of UE’s free throws in the period to push the home side ahead 35-30.
Mosley scored 13 points on 6-of-9 shooting for the Bears in the first 20 minutes.
Missouri State returns to JQH Arena on Thursday for a 7:30 p.m. tilt against Valparaiso.