VALPARAISO, Ind. – Missouri State (8-1, 5-1 MVC) shot 54 percent from the field and led Valparaiso for the final 31 minutes en route to a 78-68 road victory here Sunday, securing a Missouri Valley Conference road sweep over the Crusaders.
Isiaih Mosley matched his career high, scoring 29 points for the third game in a row — 26 in the second half – to lead all players. Gaige Prim posted 16 points and snagged 10 rebounds for his third double-double in four games, and Ja’Monta Black pitched in 14 points behind three triples for the Bears.
Valparaiso (3-7, 0-2) got 13 points apiece from Evon Gordon and Jacob Ognacevic to pace the home side.
The Bears turned a nine-point halftime lead into a 16-point advantage just over three minutes into the second half behind a lightning-quick 8-0 run out of the locker room. Layups by Prim and Black forced a Valpo timeout just over two minutes into the final period before Mosley added four unanswered points with a transition layup and baseline jumper to make it 48-32.
Valparaiso made it a nine-point game with just over eight minutes to go on a dunk by Ognacevic, but the Bears quickly turned to Mosley who restored order with a layup to put the Bears up by 11.
With 3:37 to go, Valpo made another run at it, cutting it to 69-62 on a 3-point play by Sheldon Edwards. But the Bears quickly pushed it up the floor where Black buried the biggest shot of the afternoon, draining a deep 3-pointer to make it 72-62.
Mosley added four more points in the final minute-and-a-half, beating the shot clock buzzer twice to put the game on ice.
Missouri State shot 65.2 percent in the second half, including 13-of-16 from two-point range, to help push the Bears into sole possession of third place in the Valley standings. The Bears also finished 27-of-50 (.540) overall from the field for their seventh 50-percent shooting effort in nine games this season.
The Bears accounted for 17 assists on their 27 field goals, including 4 apiece from Black and Prim. The Bears also out-rebounded the Crusaders, 39-33, and made 17-of-22 (.773) from the foul line.
Valparaiso finished 23-of-65 (.354) overall, 7-of-26 (.269) from bonus range, and 15-of-19 (.789) at the line.
The victory marked the 40th win at Missouri State for head coach Dana Ford, who is in his third season in Springfield.
In the first half, the Bears shot 44.4 percent and got 10 points from Prim to lead 38-29 at the midway point. MSU overcame some early deficits but took the lead for good with an 8-0 run engineered by a drive by Demarcus Sharp and a pair of 3-pointers from Jared Ridder.
MSU then used a 12-4 run over a key three-minute stretch to push its advantage to 34-20 on a traditional 3-point play by Mosley with five-and-a-half minutes before the break. Valpo got 7 points from Gordon from there to get the home squad within single digits at the half.