Feb. 12, 2012
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SPRINGFIELD -- Missouri State (16-11, 9-6) earned its third straight Missouri Valley Conference win here Sunday as the Bears turned back visiting Bradley, 64-53, behind 16 points and 9 rebounds from Anthony Downing.
Downing, who also had a game-high 6 assists, was 6-for-11 from the field and 4-for-4 at the line. His scoring exploits led three Bears in double figures as Caleb Patterson added 14 points off the bench, and Kyle Weems scored 11. Keith Pickens also tacked on a game-high and career-high 12 rebounds and 4 blocks in a starting role.
The double-digit victory was not an easy one, however, as Bradley (7-20, 2-13) stayed close for the first 35 minutes. The Braves, who were led by Dyricus Simms-Edwards with 18 points, led as late as the 12:44 mark of the second half when Walt Lemon, Jr., knocked down a three-pointer to give the visitors a 40-39 advantage.
However, from there Missouri State put together a 14-4 run over the next nine minutes to lead 53-44. Transition buckets by Downing and Jarmar Gulley and a pair of free throws by Gulley helped cap the run and give the home club some breathing room.
MSU stretched the lead to double figures in the final minute by going 6-for-6 at the foul line as Pickens and Nathan Scheer helped ice the win.
Scheer posted 8 points and 4 rebounds in a team-high 29 minutes for Paul Lusk's club which moved into sole possession of third place in the MVC with the victory.
The game featured four ties and 12 lead changes, including eight changes in the second half. MSU out-rebounded Bradley by a 23-11 margin in the final 20 minutes and 43-33 for the game.
MSU shot .364 from the field on 20-of-55 shots, its lowest shooting percentage in six games. The Bears were 6-for-15 (.400) from bonus distance and posted their third-highest free-throw effort of the year on 18-of-20 (.900) at the line. Missouri State had just five turnovers on the afternoon and posted 14 assists.
Bradley, which also got double-digits in the scoring column from Lemon with 13 and Jordan Prosser with 10 points, shot .298 (17-for-57) from the field and 7-of-19 (.368) from three-point distance. BU was 12-for-16 (.750) from the line and committed six turnovers.
In the first half, the Bears overcame early foul trouble by Downing, Weems and Gulley who all played 10 minutes or less before going to the pine with two fouls before the break. MSU led 29-25 at the intermission, despite leading 29-17 with just under four minutes to go before the intermission.
MSU closed out a 12-0 run at the 3:53 mark of the opening stanza with a three-pointer by Gulley that made it a 29-17 game.
However, the Braves finished the opening period with eight unanswered points to make a game of it again as Bradley accounted for five offensive rebounds down the stretch, one of which led to a critical three-pointer by Simms-Edwards with a minute to go.
The Bears return to the road on Wednesday at 7:05 p.m. to battle league-leading Wichita State (22-4, 13-2) at Koch Arena. MSU returns to JQH Arena at 4 p.m. Saturday against Old Dominion in a nationally-televised feature game in the Sears BracketBusters series on ESPNU.