Posted: Friday, 08 March 2013 10:57PM

Bears season ends with hard fought loss to Wichita State

ST. LOUIS – Missouri State (11-22) hung tough with the No. 2 seed Wichita State, but fell short against the Shockers, 69-59, here Friday (March 8) in the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament quarterfinals.

The Bears got another stellar performance from Marcus Marshall at the Scottrade Center, as the freshman scored 25 points to lead all players. His 25 points tied a career high and MVC Tournament freshman scoring record while pushing him past former MSU standout Blake Ahearn atop the school’s freshman scoring list. Marshall ended the season with 368 points to surpass Ahearn’s record of 346 set in 2003-2004.
Wichita State (25-7) was led by Carl Hall’s 18 points and 12 rebounds. His 9 offensive boards help spark 22 second-chance points by the Shockers who dominated the boards by a 43-24 margin.

Missouri State senior Anthony Downing and junior Keith Pickens saw their collegiate careers end, but didn’t go out quietly. Pickens, who announced his retirement last week due to chronic knee pain, played 40 minutes, scored 11 points and notched five rebounds, two assists and two steals.  He finished his Missouri State career with 453 points in 92 games.  Downing scored 12 points to go along with four rebounds and an assist. The senior played in 65 games and scored 822 career points, good for 40th all-time at Missouri State.

The Shockers extended their 29-24 halftime lead to as many as 11 at 58-47 with 5:19 to go in the second half, but Missouri State tried to chip away. A Marshall 3-pointer capped an 11-6 Bears run to make it a two-possession game, 64-58, with 1:37 left to play.

With just under a minute to go, the Bears appeared to catch a break with a WSU shot clock violation. However, the officials huddled and ultimately ruled that the shot clock didn’t reset properly after Wichita State’s Ron Baker missed a 3-pointer.  Instead of giving the Shockers the ball out of bounds, the officials awarded Malcolm Armstead a putback jumper after the shot clock appeared to have expired and the Bears stopped defending.  That decision made the score 66-58, and the Bears didn’t get closer than seven the rest of the way.

After the Bears erased a pair of 10-point deficits in the second half to tie the game on a Marcus Marshall 3-pointer at the 7:55 mark, the Shockers created their separation with a 12-1 run over the next three minutes.  WSU’s Jake White regained the lead for the Shockers with a fall-away jumper while being fouled. White made the free throw to make the score 49-46. The No. 2 seed extended the lead with a 3-pointer by Fred Van Vleet and a layup by White for a 54-46 lead with 5:31 left in the game. After a pair of free throws by Hall and a layup by Tekele Cotton made the score 58-47, Downing ended the run with a layup with 4:42 left on the clock.

Wichita State tried to run away from the Bears earlier, but MSU got back into the game with a 12-2 run to tie things up at 46. Downing started the surge when cut into the Shockers lead with a pull-up jumper in transition to make the score 44-36, and Pickens cut it to five with a free throw that resulted from a continuation layup. From there, Marshall scored five straight – two free throws and a 3-pointer – to even the score.

Earlier, the Bears erased a five-point first-half deficit less than two minutes into the second stanza. With 18:06 to play, a nice layup by Pickens knotted the game at 31. However, the Shockers answered with a 13-3 run to make the score 44-34 with 13:24 to go. Ron Baker made a couple of 3-pointers, and Hall helped with a pair of layups. Hall’s bucket came as the result of a pair of Wichita offensive rebounds.

Wichita State ended the first half on an 8-2 run to take a 29-24 lead over Missouri State into the locker room.
The Bears controlled the first 13 minutes of the opening half, building a six-point lead twice. At the 11:10 mark, a jumper by Thurman gave the Bears a 14-8 advantage. WSU tied the game at the 6:48 mark on a jumper by White and led by as many as three before the Bears tied it up twice more from there. Marshall's pair of free throws at the 2:49 mark gave the lead back to the No. 7 seeded Bears briefly, 23-21, before the Shockers' run to end the period.

The Bears shot 37.2 percent (16-of-43) from the floor, and made 22.2 percent (4-of-18) from 3-point land. Missouri State made 23-of-29 charity shots (79.3 percent), significantly more than Wichita State’s 13-of-21 (61.9 percent) tally at the line.
Wichita State finished 26-of-57 (.456) from the field and 4-of-16 (.250) beyond the arc with Baker adding 15 of the Shockers’ 36 bench points.

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