SPRINGFIELD – On a night dedicated to Missouri State’s five seniors, it was junior Jarred Dixon who stole the spotlight. The lanky guard scored a career-high 24 points and dropped in six 3-pointers against a visiting Bradley club that rallied from behind in the final two-and-a-half minutes to defeat the Bears, 82-78, here Wednesday.
MSU (17-13, 7-10 MVC), which dropped its third straight narrow decision, also got 20 points from senior Jarrid Rhodes, just one shy of his career high. Freshman Mustafa Lawrence added 11 points for the home side.
All five starters scored in double figures for Bradley (19-11, 9-8 MVC), including Nate Kennell who scored 20 points behind six treys of his own. The Braves also capitalized on an abundance of foul shots, converting 25-of-31 (.806) at the stripe.
The see-saw battle featured 19 lead changes and 11 ties, but Bradley’s 6-0 run – all from the free throw line – in the final 51 seconds sealed MSU’s fate. After Rhodes knocked down two free throws for the Bears with 1:17 remaining to put the home club up by one, Dixon was whistled for a foul on Kennell with 50.7 ticks showing. Kennell made the two free throws to put the Braves up 76-75.
Missouri State now heads to Cedar Falls on Saturday afternoon for a 1 p.m. tilt with Northern Iowa (14-15, 6-11 MVC) in the regular-season finale for both clubs.