Missouri State had one of their better road efforts, in a game that featured 13 ties and eight lead changes, but down the stretch, Evansville made their free throws to hold back the Bears for a 73-66 win.
The Bears (9-16, 3-10 MVC) were led by Camyn Boone with a career-high 21 points on 9-of-14 shooting from the field, while Chris Kendrix added 13 – all in the second half – and Gavin Thurman contributed 12 points and a career-high nine rebounds. Thurman’s rebound total was also a game high.
Evansville (17-8, 7-6), got 20 points from D.J. Balentine and 17 from Adam Wing to snap a three-game Valley skid.
After Thurman gave the Bears a 51-50 lead with 11:36 to go, Missouri State went the next ten minutes without a field goal, while Evansville responded with a 9-0 run to lead 59-51.
A three-point play by Balentine with three-and-a-half minutes pushed the lead to 66-57, its biggest of the night, but MSU responded with a quick 5-0 outburst. Kendrix hit a foul shot, Boone scored up close with 1:22 on the clock and Loomis Gerring knocked down a 17-footer with 47 seconds to play.
After Blake Simmons made one of two at the line on Evansville’s next trip, Shawn Roundtree responded with a quick bucket for MSU to make it a 67-64 game with 28.3 seconds to play, but the Purple Aces made all six free throws from there to close out the game.