Bears Drop 75-70 Overtime Decision at Evansville in Finale
Feb. 25, 2012
The Bears got 20 points from Jarmar Gulley, 17 from Anthony Downing and 13 from Kyle Weems in a valiant effort. MSU out-rebounded Evansville by a 50-31 margin, but committed an uncharacteristic 24 turnovers and missed 11 free throws that proved to be the difference down the stretch.
In overtime, the Bears got UE stars Colt Ryan and Denver Holmes to foul out in the first two minutes, but Gulley and Keith Pickens were only able to convert one of four free throw opportunities those fouls created. Weems then fouled at with 2:41 to go, and Kenny Harris dropped in both free throws to put Evansville up 66-63.
The Bears kept within striking distance the rest of the way, but Evansville finished 11-for-12 at the line in overtime and 25-for-30 (.917) for the game to put the game away. The Aces finished the regular-season 15-14 and 9-9 in the MVC.
After leading 34-26 at the half, MSU extended its lead to double digits with a Gulley layup 28 seconds into the second period. But the Aces were game on senior night and got five points from Colt Ryan as part of a 9-0 run that made it a 36-35 contest with 17:13 to go.
The Bears retaliated with back-to-back baskets by Gulley to stretch their lead back to five at the 15:25 mark, but a Ryan three and four straight free throws over the next two minutes tied the game 42-42.
Downing broke the tie at 11:09 with a three-pointer at the top of the key with the shot clock dwindling. His bomb made it a 45-42 contest, but Ned Cox drained a three on Evansville's next trip to knot score again, and EU got a layup by Ryan Sawvell 30 seconds later to put the Aces on top for the first time on the afternoon.
Evansville led by as many as four from there before the Bears tied the game again at the 5:31 mark with Weems scoring a layup and a pair of charity shots over a 38-second span. Gulley ended a 6-0 Bears' run with just under five minutes to go with a put-back on MSU's fourth chance of the possession to make it 55-53 game.
The Aces scored the next six points to go up 59-55 with 2:22 remaining before the Bears turned it up a notch. A jumper by Caleb Patterson, a Weems free throw and a Weems jumper brought the lead back to the visitors 60-69 with 36.9 to go.
With 20 seconds to go, UE put its fate in the hands of Colt Ryan who drove left, but Christian Kirk stepped in for a game-saving charge to give MSU the ball and the lead. However, Evansville stole the in-bound pass when Gulley lost the handle in the corner, and missed fro short range. Keith Pickens tracked down the carom and the Aces eventually fouled Downing who made both, making it a 62-59 game.
Evansville had one last prayer, and Denver Holmes answered it with a desperation three from the right wing and a second to spare to tie the game and force overtime.
MSU was 3-for-9 from the field in overtime, and UE took advantage of the 31 MSU personal fouls in the game.
The Bears shot 63.2 percent from the field in the first half and 40.7 (24-for-59) for the game. MSU was 6-for-15 (.400) from bonus distance and 16-for-27 (.593) at the line. The Bears also got a game-high 10 rebounds from Pickens.
Evansville finished 22-for-58 (.379) and also 6-of-15 from three with Ned Cox leading four double-figure scorers with 17.
The Bears took control from the opening tip, using their 11th lineup this season to storm out of the gates to an 11-3 lead in the first 3:09 of the game.
MSU used a pair of three-pointers from Gulley to set the pace in the early going and Downing kept pressure on with a pair of key field goals in the first 10 minutes to stretch three-point leads to five twice.
Evansville trimmed MSU's advantage to 17-15 at the 9:32 mark on a three-pointer by Holmes, but MSU fired back with a layup from Pickens and a three ball from Weems over the next minute to stretch the Bears' lead back to seven. Downing would later give MSU an eight-point lead with a three-pointer of his own with 8:16 to go.
The Bears will await the remaining MVC games Saturday to determine their final seed for the MVC Tournament, which begins Thursday in St. Louis. Check www.MissouriStateBears.com for updates.