Bears Drop 60-58 Thriller to UNI
Sr., G/F, Keith Pickens
Sr., G/F, Keith Pickens

Feb. 15, 2014

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 SPRINGFIELD – Northern Iowa’s Seth Tuttle finished with a game-high 21 points and 9 rebounds, but no rebound was as big as his last one as the Panthers’ 6-foot-8 center scored on a tip-in with one second remaining to lift his club past Missouri State, 60-58, here Saturday in a Missouri Valley Conference thriller.

 Tuttle was the only player to score in double figures for UNI (13-13, 7-7 MVC), which won at JQH Arena for the fifth time in six years.

 Missouri State (17-9, 7-7) was led by freshman Austin Ruder who scored 15 points behind a 3-for-5 effort from beyond the arc. Jarmar Gulley added 14 points and a game-high 11 rebounds for the Bears, while Dorrian Williams also knocked down three 3-pointers to finish with 11 points.



 With the loss, the Bears moved to 12-2 at home this season and lost in regulation at home for the first time in nearly a year -- a 69-63 loss to UNI on Feb. 19, 2013.  It also moved MSU into a three-way tie for third place in the league with UNI and Tuesday’s opponent Illinois State.

 After trailing by as many as 14 in the first half, Missouri State used a 7-0 burst early in the second period to climb within 33-28 with just over 17 minutes to go.  UNI scored on its next two possessions to extend its advantage to nine points before the Bears closed the gap to one with 12:47 remaining.

 A Jarmar Gulley bucket followed a dunk by Keith Pickens and 3-pointers by Ruder and Williams to make it a 39-38 game at the time. 

 The Panthers responded with a pair of 3-point baskets by Wes Washpun and Nate Buss near the 10-minute mark to make it 45-38, but Ruder rose up with a trey of his own and a pair of free throws to get the Bears within two at the nine-minute mark.

 Paul Lusk’s troops got within 48-47 on another Gulley put-back off a Pickens’ miss at the 6:34 mark, but again the visitors answered the bell with a 5-0 outburst over the next two minutes. UNI would build its advantage to as many as seven points with just over two minutes to go before the Bears’ rallied.

 A pair of free throws by Ruder, a 3-pointer by Williams and a bucket by Ron Mvouika got MSU within 58-56 with 59 ticks showing, and Gulley tied the game for the first time since the opening minute with a pair of free throws with 37 seconds to go.

 Out of timeouts, UNI ran the shot clock down to the end when Washpun’s missed a short jumper, but Tuttle was there for the game-winning tip-in that give the Panthers a 60-58 advantage. Missouri State got a good luck at the basket on the final play of the game as Nathan Scheer threw a 94-foot strike to the rim where Pickens got a hand on a tip-in. Bodies flew every direction, but no foul or basket interference was called, and the Panthers escaped with the win.

 Missouri State outscored UNI 37-29 in the second half and fired at a 52-percent clip from the field in the second half. Still, a dismal 35-percent shooting effort in the first period made the large deficit a heavy chore for the home club which finished 21-for-49 (.429) overall and 7-of-18 (.389) from long range. The Bears were an efficient 9-of-13 (.692) at the line, including an impressive 8-for-9 in the second half.

 Gulley’s performance was his fifth double-double of the season – all in league games.

 UNI was 22-for-47 (.468) from the field, 4-of-15 (.267) from downtown and 12-for-20 (.600) at the line while out-rebounding the Bears by a 32-28 margin. The Panthers’ 11 offensive rebounds led to 17 second-chance points, while UNI outscored the home team in the paint, 34-26.

 Missouri State struggled from the field early on, going 3-for-12 from the field to start the game but stayed within six points of the lead until the seven-minute mark.

 At that point, UNI went on a 10-2 run over a four-minute stretch to lead by as many as 14. The Bears ended the first period on a 4-0 run and cut their deficit to 31-21 at the break with UNI going 7-for-10 at the line in the opening stanza.

 The Bears travel to Illinois State (14-12, 7-7 MVC) on Tuesday at 7:05 p.m., in a game that will air on the Missouri State Basketball Television Network, including KCZ locally.  MSU returns home on Saturday, Feb. 22 for a showdown with league contender Indiana State at Noon on ESPNU.

 Tickets for next Saturday’s contest are available at or through the Athletics Box Office at JQH Arena, (417) 836-7678, starting at 10 a.m., Tuesday through Saturday this week.



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