Missouri State (22-12) forced 17 turnovers and got 20 points from Adam Leonard to beat visiting Louisiana Tech, 69-40, in the CIT quarterfinals at JQH Arena on Monday. Leonard broke the MSU single season, three point record late in the first half with his 95th of the season and extended his total to 98 by the end of the game by finishing 6-for-11 from beyond the arc, which was one shy of the school single game record.
The Bears pulled away in the second half, taking a five point halftime lead to double figures less than four minutes into the second half, and the Bulldogs (24-11) were never closer than seven the rest of the way. A layup by Will Creekmore with 16:07 to go in the game put MSU up 38-28. The Bears ended the game on a 26-7 run and finished with 24 second half rebounds. The final margin was the largest of the season for Missouri State which moved 10 games over .500 for the first time since they were 13-3 on January 9.
Missouri State finished 22-for-58 (.379), with eight three’s. The Bears were also 17-for-18 (.944) at the free throw line, their second best performance of the season. Missouri State will host Missouri Valley Conference rival Creighton on Wednesday at 7:05 p.m. in the CIT semifinals. The Bluejays (18-15) were 73-55 winners over Fairfield in another quarterfinal game Monday in Omaha.