Missouri State coughs up second half lead to Drake, falls in OT

Rick Kindhart (MSU Sports Information) SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Missouri State (14-8, 5-4) got 17 points and 17 rebounds from Alize Johnson and 15 points and 6 assists from senior Dequon Miller, but it wasn’t enough as Drake’s Reed Timmer scored on a driving, off-balance layup with 17.1 seconds left in overtime to secure a 72-71 win over the Bears here Tuesday.

Timmer finished with a game-high 27 points on 10-of-18 shooting with three 3-pointers, and 5 assists.

The Bears led for more than 30 minutes and used a 10-3 run early in the second half to lead the Bulldogs, 50-41 with 13:20 remaining in regulation after a fast-break finish by Johnson.

Drake rallied within one behind triples by T.J. Thomas and Timmer, but MSU fought back before the final media timeout. The Bears collected a 3-pointer from Austin Ruder – his third of the night – a pair of free throws by Chris Kendrix and a stick-back by Johnson to extend the home team’s lead to 60-54 with 4:55 remaining.

Johnson’s bucket would be Missouri State’s last of regulation, and Drake ended the second half on a 10-4 run. MSU missed its last 10 field goal attempts of the final stanza and scored only on free throws by Miller and Jarrid Rhodes in that span. Timmer’s clear-out layup with 1:43 left in the second half tied the game at 64, and MSU was able to get defensive stops on DU’s final two possessions in regulation to force extra time.

In overtime, a 10-footer by Nick McGlynn started Drake’s final push before Graham Woodward knocked down an elbow jumper to put the visitors ahead 68-65. After a free throw by Ryan Kreklow inched MSU closer, Miller pulled up from 17 feet to tie the game again, 68-68 at the 2:15 mark.

That score held until the final minute when MSU’s Obediah Church was called for a controversial goal-tend call on a shot by McGlynn to give the Bulldogs a two-point advantage. Miller made one free throw at the 46-second mark, but Timmer’s game-winner inside 20 seconds capped the next possession for Drake, which won in Springfield for just the second time in the series history.

Missouri State was unable to get a clean 3-point attempt off on its final possession, but Church cleaned up a long miss by Rhodes before the final horn to make the final score a one-point loss.

In the first half, the Bears missed their last 10 shots of the period to open the door for a Drake comeback. After leading 28-13 with seven-and-a-half minutes to go in the half, MSU went ice cold and saw the visitors reel off a 21-5 outburst to end the half, including four treys.

For the game, MSU out-rebounded Drake by a 48-42 margin and committed just 10 turnovers. But on a night when both teams struggled for offensive production, Missouri State fired at its second-lowest field goal percentage of the season, converting just 22-for-64 (.344), including 6-of-25 (.240) from long range. The Bears did overcome a slow start at the foul line by making 12-of-15 free throws in the second half alone, but left some critical points at the line in the extra period by making just 3-of-6 from the stripe in OT.

Drake, which also got 12 points from Ore Arogundade and 10 from McGlynn, made 27-of-69 (.391) overall, 9-of-32 (.281) from bonus range and 9-of-14 (.643) at the line with 10 turnovers.

The Bears now begin the second half of the Valley march on Saturday evening at Southern Illinois (11-11, 4-5 MVC). That game will tip at 7 p.m. on FOX Sports Midwest.

MSU returns home on Tuesday, Jan. 31 for a 7 p.m. rematch against Loyola at JQH Arena. Tickets for the Loyola game may be purchased at the Old Missouri Bank Box Office at JQH Arena or by phone at (417) 836-7678. Regular-priced tickets are also available anytime at MissouriStateBears.com.

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