West Virginia knocked down 10 three pointers and out-rebounded Missouri State by 13 to sneak away with a 70-68 overtime victory over the Bears here Thursday in the third round of the Continental Tire Las Vegas Classic.
No WVU three was bigger than Gary Browne’s desperation shot at the end of regulation that found nothing but net to tie the game and force extra time. That desperation shot after a brief scramble on the left wing brought the Mountaineers (9-2) all the way back from a 10-point deficit in the final 8:40.
In overtime, both teams were just 2-for-7 from the field, but the Mountaineers held MSU scoreless over the final 3:06 and pulled away with a key offensive board and put-back by Aaron Brown with 69 seconds left in extra time. That basket put West Virginia up 69-68. Another offensive rebound by WVU in the final minute forced MSU to foul with 22.3 seconds left. Darryl Bryant missed the second of two opportunities at the line, giving the Bears new life a chance to win or tie on the final possession of overtime.
On the final possession, Michael Bizoukas missed a three from the left wing, but the Bears battled for the offensive rebound — just their third of the game — and called timeout to set up a potential game-tying play. After the timeout, Nathan Scheer ripped to the basket for the potential game-tying layup. He found a seam, but the ball rimmed out just as the horn sounded and leaving the Bears two points short of an upset win over the Big East foe.
Missouri State (7-4), which shot 53.8 percent from the field, was led by Caleb Patterson with 18 points on 8-of-11 shooting, while Kyle Weems added 15 and a team-high 6 rebounds.
The game featured six ties and 12 lead changes.
After a 32-32 tie at the half, the Bears pulled ahead and never trailed in the second stanza, building a 55-45 lead on a three-pointer by Weems from the right wing with 8:40 to play. A Weems’ dunk with 3:44 to play ended a short WVU run and made it a 61-55 game.
And when Scheer grabbed a steal and went coast-to-coast for a clutch layup with 1:02 left, it appeared as if MSU’s 63-58 lead would be enough. However, a leaner by Browne for the Mountaineers with 44 ticks left and a Weems’ miss with eight seconds left for the Bears opened the door for Browne’s miracle trey at the horn.
MSU finished 28-for-52 (.538) with an 8-for-18 (.444) effort from beyond the arc. The Bears were just 4-for-9 (.444) at the line, including 0-for-2 in overtime, and were out-rebounded 40-27 while committing a season-high 15 turnovers.
Jarmar Gulley joined Weems and Patterson in double figures with 11 points and 5 rebounds, while Bizoukas dished out 10 assists.
West Virginia had four players in double figures, including 16 by Kevin Jones and 15 by Darryl Bryant. The Mountaineers were 26-for-61 (.426) from the field, 10-for-27 (.370) from beyond the arc and 8-for-15 (.533) at the line. WVU had 18 offensive rebounds, including 8 by Jones who finished with a game-high 13 boards. The Mountaineers also had 17 turnovers.
In the first half, MSU went up 8-4 on a trey by Weems two-and-a-half minutes into the game, but used a series of up-close buckets to come back later in the half and overcome an early seven-point deficit.
After WVU battled ahead 21-16, the Bears ended a five-minute scoring drought on a steal and layup by Gulley. A Weems dunk followed on the next possession, and a Bizoukas layup in traffic brought the Bears back within one with 7:49 to go.
Later in the half, it was Bizoukas again who distributed the ball and kept the Bears’ efforts focused. He found a wide-open Patterson for three to put MSU on top 30-29, and then gave the Bears a 32-29 lead with 68 seconds to go in the half with a short runner.
WVU retaliated with a three-pointer of its own by Brown out of the right wing to tie the game just before the intermission.
The Bears will now take on St. Mary’s at 10:30 p.m. (CST) on Friday in the final round of the tournament. That game will also be featured on ESPN3.com.