Behind 20 Points by Leonard, Bears Lead at Southern Illinois at Halftime



Adam Leonard has 20 first-half points to pace the Missouri State Bears to a 37-33 halftime lead at Southern Illinois.

MSU has made six threes in the first period, including five by Leonard, and outrebounded the Salukis by a 19-11 margin.

SIU scored the first four points of the game and built a 10-7 advantage on a bucket by Nick Evans at the 13:10 mark. Leonard tied the game just under a minute later on his second trey of the half. After Southern built an 18-12 lead midway through the half, Leonard came up big again, knocking down threes on the next two MSU possessions to tie the game, and then giving the Bears a 21-20 lead with 6:44 remaining.

From there, the junior guard's hot hand opened things up inside, and Will Creekmore hit a pair of short layups to extend the Bears advantage to 27-23. 

A clear-out for Justin Fuehrmeyer with 13 seconds left in the opening period ended in an easy layup for the team's only senior and a 37-30 MSU lead.

Southern Illinois got the last shot of the half and converted a long three by Justin Bocot to end the first half with MSU on top by four.

Jermaine Mallett has added five points for the Bears, while Creekmore has scored four. The Bears are 15-for-27 (.556) from the field and 6-of-12 (.500) from three.

SIU shot .448 in the first half on 13-of-29 from the field and was 3-for-7 (.429) from beyond the arc. The Salukis were led by Gene Teague with 11 points.

The Bears are attempting to snap a nine-game losing streak at SIU Arena while working for their first MVC road win since Dec. 29.



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