Marcus Marshall scored a game-high 16 points as the only MSU player in double figures. Alabama A&M got 16 points and 14 rebounds from Demarquelle Tabb, while Jeremy Crutcher scored 12, and Brandon Ellis added 10 points for the Bulldogs.
After taking a 25-24 lead into halftime on a 3-pointer at the buzzer by Gavin Thurman, the Bears appeared to have momentum on their side. But after the intermission, the Bulldogs (3-6) made five of their first 11 shots on a 13-2 run in the first four minutes to sprint out to a 37-27 advantage. The visitors would get no closer than eight the rest of the game, thanks in part to a 40-23 rebounding advantage by Alabama A&M and 24 Bulldog points in the paint.
The Bears limited AAMU to 23 field goals and forced 8 turnovers, but were able to convert just 8 second-half field goals en route to a .333 shooting percentage over the game's final 20 minutes.
After a put-back by Justan Banks at the 15:48 mark made it a 37-27 game, Missouri State came out of a timeout with a quick basket by Kirk to bring the MSU deficit back to single figures. But A&M responded with two quick layups of its own in less than minute to stretch the Bulldogs' lead to 12. Later in the second half, Marcus Marshall started a mini-run by the Bears, and classmate Michael Simpson responded with a power layup to get it back to 41-33. But, the Bears would convert just one field goal over the next five minutes and trailed 50-37 with 7:38 to play.
Later, Marcus Marshall dropped in five unanswered points to get the Bears back within eight at the 6:53 mark, including his second trey of the game. But Missouri State managed just one field goal -- a bucket by Downing at the 1:46 mark -- the rest of the game to fall by 12.
The Bears' five freshmen in uniform accounted for 36 of their 47 points. For the game, MSU was 18-for-47 (.383) from the field and 3-of-10 (.300) from long range. The Bears, who dropped their seventh straight, were 8-for-12 (.667) at the line and collected 23 rebounds, including 6 by Downing, with just 3 turnovers as a team.
The home club finished 23-for-57 (.404) from the field and 5-of-16 (.313) from 3-point range after a 4-for-5 start beyond the arc. AAMU was 8-for-10 (.800) at the line and secured 13 offensive boards, including 4 by Banks.
In the first half, Thurman's trey gave the Bears a one-point edge and helped the visiting squad to a 41 percent shooting clip from the field in the first half. MSU went on an 8-2 run to end the opening half after trailing 22-17 at the 4:21 mark after a 3-pointer by Tyler Davis.
Missouri State has led five of its 11 games this season at the half, including the last two, but is just 2-3 when taking a lead into the intermission.
The Bears travel to New Mexico State on Saturday for an 8 p.m. (Central) start against the Aggies in Las Cruces, N.M. The game will air live on KY3 TV and the Bears TV Network.
Game Final Stats - http://grfx.cstv.com/photos/
Season Stats - http://grfx.cstv.com/photos/