Bears roll after fast start, 71-47
The Missouri State Bears caught lightning in a bottle from the opening tip and were in charge for 40 minutes on their way to a nationally-televised (ESPN2) 71-47 Missouri Valley Conference basketball victory over the Wichita State Shockers Tuesday night in Hammons Student Center.
Senior forward Dale Lamberth, coming off the bench for the first time this season after 15 straight starting assignments, lit up the Shockers as he poured home 10-of-18 from the field, including 6-of-9 from three-point range, for a career-high 27 points. It was the highest point total for a Missouri State player since Blake Ahearn scored 32 against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (12/3/05) and the most points for a Bears’ non-starter since Allen Phillips came off the bench to score 28 against Creighton in the semifinals of the MVC Tournament (2/28/99).
For Missouri State, the quick start was a welcome tonic after the Bears fell behind 13-0 six days ago at home against Bradley and lagged 29-15 at the half three days ago in losing to Creighton. It was also a shot in the arm for a team playing without two starters. Bear center Drew Richards (illness) and guard Shane Laurie (injury) did not suit up for the contest.
Lamberth had help in the attack with three other Bears scoring in double figures and Missouri State reached double digits in three-point field goals for the third time in the past four games, connecting on 11-of-23 from long range. The Bears further aided their cause with a perfect night (10/10) from the foul line for the first time in two years.
The win closed a three-game homestand which saw the Bears bounce back to climb to 9-7 for the year and 2-2 in the MVC after losing at home for the first time this season last Saturday to Creighton. Wichita State slipped to 8-7 and 1-3.
The Bears got seven of their treys the first half as they ran out to leads of 13-0, 16-2 and 29-10. MSU led 36-22 at the half, expanded that to 20 points four minutes into the second half, and led by a many as 27 three times late in the contest.
Spencer Laurie chipped in with 13 points for Missouri State, Deven Mitchell scored 11, Justin Fuehrmeyer had 10 and Chris Cooks, making his first Missouri State start, got eight. It was also the first MSU starting assignment for Dex Manswell who had two points, five rebounds, three blocked shots and two steals in the contest. Phillip Thomasson and Gal Mekel scored 11 each to lead the Shockers.
Missouri State finished at .455 (25/55) from the field and WSU hit just 20 percent the first half and finished the night .281 (16/57). The Bears had a 39-38 rebound advantage with Mitchell and Cooks collecting eight each and the Bears blocked seven shots and came up with seven steals.
The Bears hit the road for their next outing, a Saturday MVC clash at league-leading Drake in Des Moines, Iowa. Tipoff is at 7:05 p.m.