Missouri State finished with its best shooting effort since Jan. 3, converting 20-of-46 (.435) shots and knocking down 14-of-18 (.778) at the line. But Illinois State forced the Bears into a season-high 17 turnovers and handed MSU their seventh straight loss, 67-57. The Bears had just eight players dress
The Redbirds got 20 points and 12 rebounds off the bench from DeVaughn Akoon-Purcell, while Daishon Knight added 14 points, and Reggie Lynch added 12.
After Missouri State cut into a 30-25 deficit early in the second half with a jumper by Austin Ruder, Illinois State reeled off seven unanswered points to lead by double digits for the first time, 37-27. The Redbirds built their lead to as many as 11 before an 8-2 outburst by the Bears made it a 42-37 game with 12:26 to go.
Missouri State used a trey by Chris Kendrix to get back within 62-55, but two players fouled out, the Bears had little left in the tank and could not inch closer down the stretch. Meanwhile, ISU converted five of its last six at the line to put the game away.
ISU was 24-for-55 (.436) overall, 2-of-15 (.133) beyond the arc and an impressive 17-for-19 (.895) at the line with 14 offensive rebounds.
The Bears return to JQH Arena on Saturday night for a 7:05 p.m., tipoff against Southern Illinois.