Missouri State (8-18, 6-8 MVC) opened the second half with a 12-4 run and made 7-of-8 free throws in the final minute to secure a 67-65 win over visiting Indiana State here Tuesday in Missouri Valley Conference play.
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Jake Odum had a game-high 21 points with 9 rebounds and 7 assists for the Sycamores (16-9, 9-5) who entered the night in a three-way tie for the conference lead with Wichita State and Creighton.
The Bears were led by Marcus Marshall who posted his second straight 19-point performance to match a career high, while Christian Kirk scored 14 off the bench, and Keith Pickens added 11.
Missouri State's outburst to begin the second period extended a 29-28 halftime advantage for the home club to 41-32 at the 14:07 mark. MSU later extended its lead to 53-39 on a pair of Marshall free throws with just 8:53 on the clock.
But Greg Lansing's Sycamores rallied over the next five-and-half minutes with Lucas Eitel knocking down his first 3-pointer of the night to ignite a 19-4 surge by the visitors. Manny Arop's third 3-pointer of the evening with 2:41 left made it a 58-57 game.
With just over two minutes to go, the Bears got a deep layup by Pickens to push them back ahead by three. But Odum got back to the line 26 seconds later to make it a one-point game once again.
In the final minute, the Bears got two huge defensive stops, forcing R.J. Mahurin and Odum into off-balance shots with Anthony Downing and Nathan Scheer answering the bell with key rebounds and a two free throws each on the other end. Scheer's two makes with 43.1 seconds left redeemed a pair of misses 46 seconds earlier and put MSU on top 64-59.
With 30 seconds left, the Bears got another defensive stop, but Justin Gant gathered the offensive rebound, ISU's 10th of the night, and finished with a layup to keep the Trees within striking distance. Out of an MSU timeout with 21.3 ticks to go, Dawon Cummings fouled out to send Downing back to the line where he made one of two shots, but pushed the home team back on top by four.
Odum gathered the Downing miss and took it coast-to-cast for a layup with 10 seconds on the clock to make it 65-63. But Marshall put the game out of reach with 8.1 seconds remaining on a pair of charity shots that kept it a multiple-possession advantage for the maroons. Mahurin scored just before the final horn to make the final margin, 67-65 and end a two-game ISU winning streak.
Missouri State was 21-for-52 (.404) from the field and 5-of-13 (.385) from beyond the arc. The Bears converted 20-of-28 (.714) free throws, including 7-of-8 in the final 54.8 seconds. MSU also committed just 7 turnovers and held the Sycamores to 6 second-chance points.
Pickens led Missouri State with 9 rebounds, while Downing added 8 caroms and a team-high 4 assists.
ISU, which also had 15 points from Arop and 9 from Mahurin, out-rebounded the Bears 36-32 and tallied 11 turnovers. The Sycamores were 22-for-57 (.386) from the field, 8-for-20 (.400) from long range and 13-for-14 (.929) at the line.
In the first half, a Downing floater in the lane with 27 seconds left in the half gave the Bears a 29-28 lead at the break.
Indiana State jumped out to a 6-0 lead on back-to-back treys by Arop in the first 90 seconds. The Sycamores built that lead to 13-5 after a 7-0 run that culminated in a 20-footer by Arop at the 14:22 mark.
The Bears then leaned on Kirk to bring them back as the sophomore from Springfield knocked down the Bears' next five field goals, the last of which cut ISU's lead to 20-16 just past the midway point of the opening stanza.
Consecutive baskets by Odum later gave ISU a 26-20 advantage, but the Bears rallied behind a traditional 3-point play and a 20-footer by Marshall to make it a one-point contest with 3:13 to go. In the final 90 seconds of the first period, MSU drew a pair of offensive fouls on the Sycamores, which gave Missouri State a chance to push ahead on Downing's only field goal of the half.
The Bears take to the road Saturday to take on Southern Illinois (9-15, 2-11) at 7:05 p.m. The Salukis host Evansville on Wednesday.
MSU returns home on Feb. 19 at 7:05 p.m. when it hosts Northern Iowa on a White Out night at JQH Arena. Tickets are available now at MissouriStateTix.com, by phone at (417) 836-7678 or during regular box office hours at the Chevy Pickup Window at JQH Arena.