Even though Missouri State probably had never experienced a win as big as the 66-64 victory over No. 7 Wisconsin, the Bears acted like they’d been there before. There was no wild celebration or pompous reaction.
“That’s because we expected to win this game,” said coach Barry Hinson after the game.
Sure, it’s easy to say that after the fact. But the way Hinson has preached the validity of the Missouri Valley Conference over the years; perhaps they did expect to win.
In the 23 years Missouri State has been a Division I team, they have never beaten a team ranked as high as seven. Blake Ahearn led the way for the Bears with 25 points. Deven Mitchell recorded a double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds. The Bears play Oklahoma State today in the championship game of the South Padre Island Invitational.
Ahearn scored 19 of his 25 in the first half as the Bears built a 45-32 lead at halftime. The Badgers battled back and had a chance to win it, but Alando Tucker’s 3-point attempt missed as time expired. Tucker led all scorers with 26.