Posted: Saturday, 02 March 2013 10:10PM

Bears Top Bradley on Senior Night





Missouri State (10-21, 7-11 MVC) got 15 points apiece from Christian Kirk and its only senior Anthony Downing to help turn back visiting Bradley here Saturday, 64-56, in the regular-season finale for both Missouri Valley Conference clubs.

Jordan Prosser and Walt Lemon, Jr., each scored 13 points for Bradley (16-15, 7-11), while Dyricus Simms-Edwards had 10 points and 12 rebounds.

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With the victory, the Bears clinched the No. 7 seed for next week's MVC Tournament in St. Louis and secured their 42nd straight winning record at home, finishing 8-7 at JQH Arena.

The Bears, who committed just three turnovers, expanded their six-point halftime lead into a 44-29 advantage, just under seven minutes into the second period.  The home club used a 13-4 run that included 8 points by Downing, to build their biggest lead of the night.

Downing's third trey of the night came with 7:08 to play and made it a 56-44 contest at the time. However, with just over six-and-a-half minutes remaining, the Braves began a run of their own and whittled the MSU lead to 58-56 with just 2:08 to play behind a 12-2 outburst. Simms-Edwards' put-back after four Braves' misses from close range pulled BU as close as it had been since the 9:16 mark of the first half.

But on its next possession, Missouri State turned to junior Nathan Scheer who knocked down his third 3-pointer of the game to push the Bears back ahead by five with 98 seconds remaining.

After Lemon traveled on Bradley's next trip, freshman Gavin Thurman drilled a 17-footer to give the Bears a 63-56 advantage with just 47 seconds left, and the Braves missed their final three field goal attempts of the night to help Missouri State pick up its 10th win.

Junior Keith Pickens, who announced he will not return to the team next season due to chronic knee pain, registered 8 points and 3 rebounds after he too was recognized in pregame Senior Night ceremonies.

Marcus Marshall and Scheer added 11 points for MSU with Marshall contributing team highs with 7 rebounds and 5 assists.

Missouri State was 23-for-57 (.404) from the field and 8-for-25 (.320) from beyond the arc. The Bears were 10-of-18 (.556) at the line and were out-rebounded 41-28.

The Braves, who entered the game seventh nationally in steals per game, were able to snag just 2 steals against MSU but turned the ball over 15 times themselves. The Bears turned those turnovers into 16 points.

Bradley finished 22-for-50 (.440) from the field, 4-of-17 (.235) from 3-point range and 8-of-13 (.615) at the line.

Missouri State overcame an early 9-0 deficit by using a 21-4 run over a nine-minute span to lead 21-13 at the 5:55 mark of the first half. Scheer knocked down a pair of 3-pointers during the run, while Kirk scored five of his seven first-half points during the comeback effort.

MSU built its lead to 31-20 at the 1:08 mark after a Scheer layup in transition. Bradley rallied in the final 48 seconds of the opening stanza on a layup by Prosser and a long-range trey by Lemon just before the horn.

Paul Lusk's squad will play No. 10 seeded Southern Illinois (14-16, 6-12) in the first round of the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament at Scottrade Center in St. Louis, starting at approximately 8:30 p.m., Thursday.7 Tickets for Arch Madness are available through TicketMaster by calling (800) 745-3000.

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