Missouri State (11-18, 5-12 MVC) rallied from a seven-point deficit in the game’s second overtime to clip visiting Bradley, 80-77, here Wednesday in a triple-overtime thriller on Senior Night at JQH Arena. MSU’s lone senior, Christian Kirk, finished with 16 points, nine rebounds and three blocks, but sophomore Austin Ruder helped carry the team in OT behind his 20 points and five three-pointers, including a clutch shot to tie the game, 69-69, with 5.1 seconds left in the second overtime.
Ruder then opened up the third overtime with a trey to make it 72-69 before fouling out less than a minute later. Chris Kendrix finished with 14 points and 8 rebounds to go with a JQH Arena record 55 minutes played.
The Bears finished with eight three-pointers for the night, their most since Dec. 17, but finished just 8-of-27 (.296) from long distance. Missouri State somehow won despite a season-high 19 turnovers and went just 7-of-13 from the foul line in the three overtime periods.
This was the longest game ever at JQH Arena and was Missouri State’s longest since a four-overtime win at Kansas State on Dec. 8, 1987. In its history, MSU had never played beyond double overtime at home, but lost previous triple-overtime road games at Valparaiso (Jan. 28, 1985) and Illinois State (Feb. 17, 1970).
The Bears, who finished their home season with an 8-6 record, close out the regular season Saturday at Loyola Chicago (17-12, 7-10), starting at 3 p.m., on ESPN3. MSU will then travel to St. Louis, March 5-8 for the 2015 MVC Tournament at Scottrade Center in St. Louis where they will be the No. 8 seed and play either Bradley or Southern Illinois at 6 p.m., on March 5.