Missouri State gets an A for effort as they used its defensive pressure to overcome a poor shooting performance, only to fall short in overtime, 66-61, to the Evansville Purple Aces.

The Bears (7-8, 0-4) trailed 30-27 at the half, but held a hot-shooting Evansville squad to just 34.8 percent shooting in the second half to catch the Aces and later take a four-point lead in the second half.

The late MSU advantage came with just under six minutes to play on a three-pointer by Chris Cooks who had missed the previous three games with an injury. The Bears’ 48-44 lead was short-lived as Jason Holsinger answered with a three-pointer of his own two possessions later to tie the game again.

Will Creekmore’s free throw with 36.4 seconds to go in regulation tied the game 55-55 and forced the extra period.   

Evansville scored seven of its 11 overtime points from the free throw line as the Bears lost a season-high three players to foul disqualifications.  The biggest blow came with 18.4 seconds left after a missed free throw, the Aces grabbed the long rebound and got a put back by Pieter van Tongeren to extend their lead to 65-61. 

A long driving shot by Justin Fuehrmeyer was off its mark, and Evansville (11-3, 3-1) added another free throw in the final seconds to escape with a 66-61 win. Evansville was just 8-for-23 (.348) in the second half and 22-for-47 (.468) for the game.

MSU was 1-for-7 in overtime from the field and got 13 points and 8 rebounds from Creekmore, while Fuehrmeyer scored 11, and Shane Laurie had a season-high 10.

The Bears, who have now lost five straight games for the first time since January 5-18, 2005, continue a two-game road swing on Saturday with a regionally-televised game at Northern Iowa (7:05 p.m.).

Story courtesy of Rick Kindhart, MSU athletics