A 16-0 run in the second half helped Missouri State (15-9, 6-5 MVC) erase a 10-point deficit, leading to an eventual 82-81 overtime win for the Bears over Loyola, Tuesday night at JQH Arena. This was MSU’s third straight overtime game, all decided by one point.
Austin Ruder led MSU with a season-high 22 points, including six 3-pointers, while Jarred Dixon added 15 and Alize Johnson posted his 14th double-double behind 14 points and 12 rebounds.
Missouri State had a 61-52 lead and all the momentum on its side. The Bears led 71-69, but Loyola went the length of the floor in the final 3.9 and got a game-tying layup at the buzzer by Clayton Custer, who finished with 15 points.
In overtime, the Bears battled from three points down in the final 51 seconds to salvage the win. Johnson hit two free throws with 5.1 seconds remaining in OT to put the Bears on top. A desperation 3-pointer at the horn missed wide left for the Ramblers, and the Bears improved to 11-3 at JQH Arena this season with the overtime victory.
MSU takes to the road Saturday against Evansville (10-13, 1-9) at 3 p.m., to begin a two-game Valley road swing. The Bears return home on Feb. 12 against Northern Iowa at 3 p.m.