Feb. 18, 2014
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NORMAL, Ill. – Jarmar Gulley scored 24 points, and Austin Ruder added 12 for Missouri State, but the Bears (17-10, 7-8 MVC) could not overcome a season-high 21 turnovers in a 67-63 loss to Illinois State here Tuesday.
The Redbirds (15-12, 8-7) got double-figure scoring from all five starters, including 17 from Daishon Knight who added a game-high 5 assists.
MSU battled back from a 13-point first-half deficit to rally within 32-26 at the break, and then took their first lead of the second half at the 9:44 mark when Ruder made all three free throws after being fouled on a 3-point attempt. ISU reeled off the game’s next four points to take a 49-46 lead, and MSU got within one point three times over the next two minutes.
But it was Ruder who rose up again with a pair of go-ahead 3-pointers on back-to-back possessions, the last of which made it a 58-56 contest with just 4:52 remaining and tied an MSU freshman record with his 61st trey of the season.
But with Illinois State in the double bonus, the Redbirds made a living at the line down the stretch, following a layup by Reggie Lynch with 7 free throws as part of a pivotal 9-0 run over a four-minute span. A pair of charity shots by Bobby Hunter with 30.9 seconds to go made it a 65-58 contest and seemed to have things put away.
The Bears, however, kept coming, and got a 3-pointer from Gavin Thurman with 24 seconds to go and a layup by Devon Thomas with 12 ticks remaining to make it a 65-63 game. MSU fouled Paris Lee on the ensuing in-bound play, and the freshman made both of them to seal a four-point home win for Illinois State.
ISU turned MSU’s turnovers into 25 points and finished 25-for-35 (.714) at the line. The Bears held them to 19-of-42 (.452) from the field with just 6 second-half field goals, and 4-of-19 (.211) from beyond the arc with 12 turnovers.
MSU was 12-of-16 (.750) on its rare free throw chances, making 7-of-9 in the second half, and converted 22-of-48 (.458) from the field and 7-of-18 (.389) from 3-point range. MSU out-rebounded the home club 28-26 and had one more assist than the Redbirds.
Missouri State ended the first half on a 13-6 run to trim a 13-point deficit into a 32-26 margin at the break. Three-pointers by Gulley and Nathan Scheer – his 99th career trey – got the Bears back within 7 of the lead. In the final 86 seconds of the half, Devon Thomas stepped up as he posted 4 points and a key steal to get the visitors back in the game, despite 14 first-half turnovers.
The performance by Gulley marked the senior's sixth 20-point game of his career.
The Bears will return home to JQH Arena for their next two league contests, starting at Noon on Saturday with a nationally-televised game against Indiana State (20-6, 11-3 MVC) on ESPNU. Tickets for the showdown against the second-place Sycamores are available now at MissouriStateBears.com/tickets or during regular office hours at the MSU Athletics Box Office at JQH Arena, (417) 836-7678.