Bears On Top of 'Canes at the Half, 32-26, in NIT Second Round
CORAL GABLES, Fla. -- Behind 12 first-half points from Kyle Weems, Missouri State leads home standing Miami (Fla.) in the NIT second-round game by a score of 32-26 at the half. Weems has three of the Bears' five three-pointers and has a team-high five rebounds.
The Bears missed their first seven field goal attempts and fell behind 7-0 before a three-pointer by freshman Nathan Scheer at the 14:49 mark made it a 9-6 game. Isaiah Rhine and Adam Leonard combined for three early free throws for MSU's only points in the early going.
From there, A long two by Leonard and a quick jumper in the paint by Jermaine Mallett put the Bears ahead 10-9.
A quick bucket by Miami's Julian Gamble gave the Hurricanes a 17-16 advantage with 8:22 on the first-half clock before the Bears unloaded with a series of treys by Weems, Leonard and Scheer to stretch the lead to 25-19.
The Bears pulled ahead 32-23 on a pair of free throws by Nafis Ricks in the final minute before a desperate bank shot by Malcolm Grant from three-point range found its mark to make it 32-26 at the half.
The Bears are just 10-for-29 (.345) in the first half, but 5-of-15 (.333) from three-point range and 7-of-11 (.636) from the line. MSU holds a 20-15 rebounding advantage over the larger Miami club and has just three turnovers. Leonard and Scheer have contributed six points apiece.
Miami was 12-for-27 (.444) from the field and just 2-of-10 (.200) from beyond the arc, including the last-second circus shot. The Hurricanes did not attempt a free throw in the first 20 minutes as MSU committed just two personal fouls while forcing six UM turnovers.
The winner advances to Wednesday's NIT quarterfinals against either New Mexico or Alabma.