Missouri State’s Gavin Thurman scored a game-high 18 points, and Anthony Downing added 12 points and 7 rebounds, but a series of second-half runs pushed home standing Indiana State (11-6, 4-2) past the Bears (5-13, 3-3), 68-60, in Terre Haute, IN. Wednesday in Missouri Valley Conference play.
After holding a 31-27 lead at the half, the Bears gave up a quick bucket by Justin Gant to start the second stanza, but answered with a 3-pointer by Marcus Marshall to move ahead 34-29 inside the first minute. But the Sycamores throttled control away from the visitors over the next six minutes, going on a 17-3 run and forcing five MSU turnovers to lead 46-37 with 12:45 to play.
With just over 12 minutes to go, MSU scored on back to back possessions to make it 46-42 after Downing scored, and Dorrian Williams dropped in a long 3-pointer. But Dawon Cummings single-handedly carried ISU for the next six minutes with only Thurman managing points for the Bears until Pickens made one of two free throws with 7:37 left. Devonte Brown extended the Indiana State lead to as many as 14 with a 10-1 spurt that gave the home club a 60-46 advantage with three-and-a-half remaining.
Downing started a 6-0 Bears’ run from there with a pair of free throws. Thurman knocked down a 15-footer before a Downing runner brought the visitors back within 60-52 with just over two minutes on the clock. In the final 90 seconds, Indiana State missed 5-of-10 free throws to give Missouri State a chance.
Thurman pushed the deficit back to single digits with a long jumper with 79 seconds remaining, and with 27.4 left, Nathan Scheer collected a steal and knocked down a long trey that made it 66-60. MSU then fouled Lucas Eitel who missed both free throws, but Missouri State failed to capitalize on the opportunity, and after Scheer forced a contested 30 footer, ISU snagged a critical carom to get back to the line.
With the game in the balance, Cummings made both free throws to sealed the win for the Sycamores and send the Hulman Center crowd of 5,593 home happy.
The Bears also got 9 points from Christian Kirk and 7 from Keith Pickens in the valiant road effort.
For the game, Missouri State was 24-for-49 (.490) from the field and 5-of-13 (.385) from long distance while making just 7-of-13 (.538) at the line. MSU was out-rebounded 26-25 and committed 12 turnovers.
Indiana State was 24-for-42 (.571) from the field and had four players in double figures — Manny Arop, Justin Gant, Devenote Brown and Cummings all scored 10 points for the home team. ISU was also 4-of-11 (.364) from bonus distance and 16-of-26 (.615) at the line.
In the first half, the Bears never trailed after Thurman, in his second career start, came out firing with the Bears’ first 9 points in just under five minutes. A short jumper by Kirk at the 14:32 mark made it an 11-4 game to match the visitors’ largest lead of the opening period.
Indiana State drew within two of the Bears with an 8-3 run midway through the half before Bruce Marshall knocked down a wide open 3-pointer from the left wing to push MSU back on top by a 17-12 count. The Sycamores answered with free throws on their next three trips, making 4-of-6, to make it 17-16, but the Bears rallied with a bank shot by Kirk, an 18 footer by Thurman and a layup by Pickens to push ahead 23-16 with just over five minutes to go.
ISU closed out the half on an 11-8 run, but the Bears held on to lead 31-27 at the break.
The Bears will now take on Bradley (7-6, 3-3) on Saturday afternoon (1 p.m.) in Peoria before returning home Jan. 23 to take on nationally-ranked Wichita State.