Pat Swilling and Rashad Ray scored 11 apiece for Tulsa (5-3).
The Bears played a near-even first half, matching the Golden Hurricane in field goals and three pointers, but trailed 28-22 with Tulsa getting six more free throws. The Bears stormed out of the gates in the second half, scoring the first four points on a Christian Kirk 10-footer and a Wilson steal and dunk to make it a 28-26 game.
But back-to-back three-point plays by Tulsa pushed the home club back ahead by eight as Ray and Kauri Black converted big plays in the first three minutes of the second stanza. MSU cut its deficit to six points twice with Marcus Marshall hitting a pair of free throws and a 20-foot jumper over the next couple of minutes. But a dunk by D'Andre Wright and baseline drive by Shaquille Harrison pushed TU ahead by 10 to match its biggest lead to that point, 40-30, at the 14-minute mark.
MSU responded with a 5-0 run with Wilson hitting a layup and getting 2-of-4 free throws to fall, while Kirk converted a charity shot at the 12:14 mark to make it a 40-35 contest. But the Bears would never get any closer from there, and MSU went more than five minutes without a field goal until a Dorrian Williams leaner with eight-and-a-half minutes to play.
Tulsa got a pair of timely 3-pointers over a 90-second span to push its lead to 15 with just under five minutes to go, and the Bears scored just twice more -- a free throw by Marshall and a layup by Williams -- in a contest that got stretched out late.
MSU finished 15-for-51 (.294) from the field and 1-for-19 (.053) from 3-point range. The Bears were 11-for-21 (.524) at the line with Marshall making 7-of-10 and Wilson making 3-of-6 at the stripe. Missouri State was out-rebounded 33-32 but got 12 offensive boards and six second-chance points.
The Bears also got 9 points from Marshall, 8 from Williams and 7 points and 7 boards from Kirk.
Tulsa was 20-for-41 (.488) from the field, 3-of-11 (.273) from bonus distance, and made 18-of-27 (.667) from the foul line. Tulsa had 13 turnovers and collected 9 steals.
In the first half, Tulsa took advantage of its ample free throw opportunities to take a 28-22 lead into the intermission with a key sequence late in the opening period.
After Kirk pulled the Bears within 22-20 at the 3:20 mark, TU scored four of its last six points of the period at the free throw line, including two shots by James Woodard on what was ruled a flagrant foul on Keith Pickens. Pickens contested a break-away layup by Woodard and missed a swipe at a block, but both players kept their feet when the foul was called. TU was unable to take advantage of the extra possession, and the Bears scored the final bucket of the period on a floater by Williams.
MSU out-rebounded the Golden Hurricane 17-15 in the first 20 minutes and committed 7 turnovers.
The Bears now take to the road Saturday at 3 p.m. for a date with #23 Oklahoma state (6-1). That game will be televised on FOX Sports Midwest PLUS on various cable outlets throughout Missouri and Iowa.