Missouri State rallied from an early 13-point deficit to lead by as many as nine points in the second half, but Murray State scored four points in the final 20 seconds to steal a 66-63 win in the opening round of the CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament at JQH Arena in Springfield on Wednesday night.
Cameron Payne scored gave the Racers their first lead of the second half with 19.6 left in the game, giving Murray State a 64-63 advantage. Payne, the Ohio Valley Conference Freshman of the Year, hit two free throws with seven seconds remaining to give Murray State the three-point lead. Missouri State’s in-bound pass from senior Nathan Scheer to Christian Kirk ended up in traffic without a final shot going off.
The Bears got 13 points from senior Jarmar Gulley, 12 points and 5 assists from Dorrian Williams and 11 points from Tyler McCullough. Gulley finished his two-year Missouri State career with 806 points to rank 45th on the club’s all-time scoring list – 12th among two-year players. Ruder splashed home his 72nd 3-pointer of the season to finish tied for third all-time among Missouri Valley Conference freshman in scoring beyond the arc.
The Bears finished 14-3 at home on the season and improved 9 games over last season’s 11-22 ledger while registering the program’s third 20-win campaign in five years.
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