Mvouika Breaks Out in Narrow Road Loss
 
Junior Ron Mvouika
 
Junior Ron Mvouika
 

Jan. 18, 2014

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CEDAR FALLS, Iowa - Missouri State (12-6, 2-4 MVC) got a career-high 28 points from junior Ron Mvouika and shot 59.3 percent from the field in a narrow 94-89 road loss to Northern Iowa here Saturday afternoon in Missouri Valley Conference play.  Mvouika’s 6-for-6 effort from 3-point range was a Bears’ single-game record, helping him finish 10-for-13 from the field overall.
 
The Bears’ team field goal percentage was a McLeod Center record by a visiting team, previously set by Texas Southern at 57.8 percent.
 
However, UNI (10-8, 4-2) shot a remarkable 67.4 percent from the field and got 26 points from Nate Buss and 21 from Seth Tuttle to remain unbeaten at home this season and ruin MSU’s comeback efforts.
 
The Bears dropped in a season-high 12 3-pointers, including seven in the second half. Jarmar Gulley added 16 points, while Tyler McCullough scored a career-high 13, and Austin Ruder scored 11.
 
The Bears erased a 13-point deficit with a solid second-half run paced by McCullough and Mvouika, but it was Gavin Thurman’s 3-pointer with 9:10 left in the game that gave Missouri State its first lead of the day, 61-59.  It took the Panthers just 30 seconds to retake the lead on a trey by Max Martino, and UNI pushed ahead 65-61 moments later with a long ball from Matt Bohannon.
 
The Bears would rally within two on their next two possessions on a hook shot by Gulley and a dunk by Christian Kirk before Buss knocked down his fifth 3-pointer of the game. Mvouika scored off the glass with 6:13 to go to trim UNI’s lead to 70-67, but Northern Iowa reeled off 9 unanswered points over the next two-and-a-half minutes to make it a 79-67 contest at the 3:50 mark.
 
UNI would manage just one field goal the rest of the way – a dunk by Tuttle -- and made just 12-of-18 free throws down the stretch to open the doors for a Bears comeback run.
 
McCullough scored the first four points to cut the Panthers’ lead to 8, and Mvouika would knock down a trey and a layup with a Gulley basket mixed in to make it a five-point game with 93 seconds left. Mvouika and Dorrian Williams combined to make 3-of-4 free throws in the crunch, and then Ruder dropped in a huge 3-pointer with 25.6 seconds left to make it an 88-86 contest.
 
Mvouika was forced to foul Tuttle on the ensuing play, disqualifying the Frenchman on his fifth foul, while Tuttle responded with both makes to stretch it to 90-86.  Williams took the ball into tall Timber on MSU’s next possession and got smothered on his shot. No call was made, and the loose ball out of bounds went back to the Panthers who padded their lead to six on free throws by Wes Washpun with 10 seconds showing.
 
Ruder made things interesting again with another clutch 3-pointer five seconds later, but Tuttle made it a two-possession game and essentially clinched the victory as he made a pair of charity shots with 4.6 seconds to go to help Northern Iowa seal the win.
 
Williams, Thurman and McCullough each had 4 rebounds apiece for the Bears who out-rebounded the Panthers, 25-21, while both teams had just 9 turnovers.
 
The Bears’ shooting performance was its second-highest percentage on the season (32-for-54) with an impressive 12-for-21 (571) beyond the arc and respectable 13-of-17 (.765) at the line. Mvouika’s point total was the most by a Missouri State player this season, while his perfect 6-for-6 effort from long range broke the previous school mark of 5-for-5, done four times previously, including once by Nathan Scheer against Southern Illinois last season.
 
UNI was 31-for-46 (.674) overall from the field and 13-for-21 (.619) beyond the arc while scoring 19-of-28 (.679) charity shots. Bohannon added 13 points for UNI while Washpun scored 11.
 
In the first half, UNI made 15 of its first 19 shots and built a 13-point lead four times behind the strength of six 3-pointers. But with 3:20 to go in the opening stanza, Ron Mvouika, who made his first start of the season, caught fire and went on a personal 10-0 run to make it a 39-36 game at the break.  After a slow start, the Bears ended the half shooting 57 percent from the field with 5-of-8 from beyond the arc.
 
Missouri State returns to JQH Arena on Tuesday at 7:05 p.m. to welcome Evansville as part of a two-game home stand. The Bears also entertain Southern Illinois next Saturday with tickets for both games available at MissouriStateBears.com/tickets, by phone at (417) 836-7678 and at the JQH Arena box office during regular ticket office hours.


 

 

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