Missouri State shot just 28 percent in the second half, and visiting Northern Iowa took advantage in a 60-59 come-from-behind Missouri Valley Conference win at JQH Arena late Sunday to snap the Bears’ 19-game home winning streak.
MSU (17-5, 9-2) got 18 points from Kyle Weems, 11 from Jermaine Mallett and 10 from Will Creekmore in a game the Bears led most of the way in front of a rowdy 9,901 fans.
After pulling ahead 52-44 with 10:08 to play in the game on a free throw by Nafis Ricks, Missouri State saw the Panthers reel off 12 of the next 14 points over a span of nearly six minutes to take a 56-54 advantage.
The lead would change hands four more times down the stretch, but it appeared the home club would survive the run when Weems knocked down a long two-pointer out of the left corner to give Missouri State a 59-58 lead with 18.2 seconds remaining.
UNI called timeout and set up a three-point attempt for Marc Sonnen out of the right corner. The shot missed, and Weems went up with Johnny Moran for the rebound. Weems was called for a foul, the team’s fifth of the half, which appeared to give the visitors the ball out of bounds with 5.2 seconds left. However, Moran was awarded two free throws which he made to give the Panthers a 60-59 lead.
Adam Leonard drove the distance of the floor in the final seconds, and his floater in the paint as time expired bounced out at the horn.
UNI (17-6, 8-3) was the last team to beat the Bears in their home facility, on this same date a year ago. That game too was decided on a controversial foul in the waning seconds, but the Bears responded by defending their home court for 19 consecutive games to mark their fourth-longest in school history and best since moving to Division I in 1982-83.
Missouri State was 7-for-25 from the field in the second half, but finished with a 42.3-percent effort from the field (22-for-52) and 5-for-14 (.357) from bonus distance. MSU missed just three of its 13 free throw attempts (.769) but misssed two in the final 10:08 when the Panthers were rallying.
The Bears out-rebounded the visitors by a 31-25 margin and had one more turnover (11) than UNI.
Weems and Mallett led the way with 8 rebounds each for MSU, while Mallett contributed a game-high five assists.
Story courtesy of Missouri State Athletics