Missouri State (14-5, 4-4) overcame a flurry of second-half three-pointers by visiting Indiana State to score a 99-92 overtime win in Missouri Valley Conference play here Tuesday, snapping a two-game losing streak for MSU.
The game before 7,343 fans at JQH Arena was really a tale of three contests. The Bears stormed out to a 43-23 halftime lead, using pressure defense and efficient shooting to shake off the cobwebs of back-to-back conference losses on the road. In the second half, the Sycamores went 11-for-14 from three-point range and erased a 21-point deficit in the final 11:17 of regulation to force extra time. Then, in overtime, the Bears turned to junior Jermaine Mallett who scored eight of the team’s 16 points in the additional period, including a pair of three-pointers and an exclamation-mark, break-away dunk with six seconds to go.
Mallett led six Bears in double figures with 18 points, while Caleb Patterson matched a career high with 17, and Will Creekmore added 15.
Indiana State’s improbable run was sparked by a four-point play with 11:08 to go in the second half after Aaron Carter was fouled in the process of making a three from the right wing. That play cut a 62-41 Bears’ lead to 17 points. Carter would nail two more treys in the next two minutes to make it a 64-52 contest, and sparked six three-pointers by three different Sycamores, including a long bomb by Harry Marshall with less than a second to play, tying the game 83-83.
In overtime, Bears’ point guard Nafis Ricks attacked the rim early and made a pair of key free throws 36 seconds into overtime before Marshall demanded the ball and scored a put-back for ISU 27 seconds later. Ricks would score on a short jumper with 3:33 to go in overtime to put Missouri State up 87-85 before Mallett drained a three-pointer from the left wing to make it 90-85 with just under three minutes remaining.
Indiana State (11-8, 3-5) was not phased by the crowd at JQH Arena and answered with a jumper by Marshall and a three-pointer by Rashad Reed to tie the game again, 90-90. But, Mallett put the Bears up for good with 1:23 to play with his third trey of the night after Marshall, playing with four fouls, backed off Mallett who got a friendly roll.
Cuonzo Martin’s squad made four free throws down the stretch before Mallett collected a steal near mid-court and took it to the rim for a dunk with just six seconds to go to put the finishing touches on a 99-93 league win.
Marshall had a game-high 21 points to lead ISU, while Carl Richard went 8-for-10 from the field and scored 20 points. Indiana State shot 71.4 percent from the field in the second half (20-for-28), including 11-of-14 from beyond the arc and finished the game with a 51.7-percent clip.
ISU’s 60 second-half points was a new JQH Arena record.
The Bears shattered the arena scoring record and won in overtime for the first time under second-year head coach Martin who had dropped three previous overtime contests.
Missouri State was 33-for-62 (.532) for the game, and dropped in 9-of-21 (.429) from beyond the arc. After missing 10 free throws in the second half, the Bears knocked down 6-of-8 charity shots in overtime to seal the win.
Continuing league play Sunday at 7 p.m. in Omaha, Neb., the Bears will take on Creighton (9-9, 4-3) on ESPNU before returning home for two games next week — Jan. 27 against Evansville (7:05 p.m.) and Jan. 30 against No. 20 Northern Iowa (2:05 p.m.).
In the first half, the Missouri State Bears shot 53-percent from the field to take a 43-23 lead into the break. Creekmore scored Missouri State’s first six points to help the Bears jump out to a 10-2 lead. Indiana State cut its deficit to 10-5 on a traditional three-point play by Brant Leitnaker before a 12-0 run by MSU put the home squad up 22-5 at the 11:38 mark.
The margin stayed around 17 the rest of the half before a baseline dunk by Patterson and a three-pointer by Adam Leonard with 26 seconds to go in the half put the Bears up by a 20-point margin.