Missouri State freshman Austin Ruder matched his career-high with 21 points as the fourth-seeded Missouri State held on for a 53-48 win over fifth-seeded Illinois State in the Missouri Valley Conference tournament quarterfinals at Scottrade Center in St. Louis. The Bears (20-11) face top-seeded and second-ranked Wichita State (32-0) in the semifinals.
Ruder hit a three-pointer with 2:05 lead to put the Bears ahead 48-46. After a miss by the Redbirds (16-15), Keith Pickens had a tip-in to make it 50-46 with 42 seconds remaining. The Bears made 3 of 6 free throws down the stretch to help seal the victory. The Bears shot under 33%, making just 18 of 55 shots.