Cook powers Bears win with career-high 31 points

SPRINGFIELD – Keandre Cook scored a career-high 31 points to help lead Missouri State past visiting Alabama State, 59-50, here Sunday, giving the Bears their first win of the new season.

Cook was 9-of-13 overall from the field, 6-for-7 from 3-point range, and 7-of-7 from the stripe to pace all players. The Bears out-rebounded the Hornets by a 40-27 margin, including a game-high 14 caroms by Tulio Da Silva.

The Bears (1-1) led for all but four minutes but had trouble putting the scrappy visitors away. MSU led by as many as 12 points late in the game after a layup by Isiaih Mosley with 2:13 to go made it a 57-45 contest.

Alabama State’s Kevion Stewart knocked down his third trey of the game with 7.5 seconds to go to get the Hornets’ deficit back to single digits in the deciding moments.

ASU (1-1), which plays its first 15 games away from home, was led by Kevin Holston who scored 11 points, while Stewart and Tobi Ewuosho scored nine apiece.

Missouri State finished the game 22-of-52 (.423) from the field and 7-of-19 (.368) from 3-point range. The Bears turned the ball over 20 times, marking the first time since 2017 MSU had as many mishaps, but overcame it by scoring 29 points off ASU’s 17 turnovers and running up nine second-chance points.

In the first half, the Bears overcame a slow start and an impressive 9-0 run by Alabama State early in the game to lead 29-22 at the break. Cook, who made his first six 3-point shots on the night, tallied 19 points in the first stanza.

Cook didn’t cool down in the second half, converting a rare four-point play to start the scoring and put the Bears up by 11. Later in the half, his final triple of the day gave Missouri State a 47-36 advantage and cooled off the visitors who made a small run to get within six moments earlier.

Down the stretch, Mosley converted a pair of fast-break layups – the first on a pass from Cook and the second from Tyrik Dixon – to give the Bears their biggest lead of the game, 57-45.

Dixon finished with seven rebounds and six assists.

Cook became the second MSU player in as many seasons – and 66th all-time — to score 31 points in a game, joining former Bear Jarred Dixon who did so at Oregon State on Dec. 1, 2018.

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