Hot Bears roll past Purple Aces, 76-38
The Missouri State Bears put together a 17-3 scoring run at the start of the first half, a 16-4 run to begin the second half and another 16-4 burst over the last nine minutes of the game and breezed to a 76-38 Missouri Valley Conference basketball victory over the Evansville Purple Aces Saturday night in Hammons Student Center.
In climbing to 12-2 at home for the season, the Bears turned in their best defensive effort since holding Indiana State to 34 points in 2004-05, their biggest victory margin in a game since they popped Evansville by 52 at Hammons last season, and the first time they’ve doubled up the score on an opponent since 1990-91. The Bears are now 6-9 in Valley play and back to within a game of the .500 mark overall at 13-14. Evansville fell to 3-12 in the Valley and 8-17 overall.
The game statistics reflect the Bears’ dominance in the contest. Missouri State held Evansville to .277 (13/47) shooting from the field for the contest as they Aces made only one of six three-point tries. It was the fewest treys and fewest field goals the Bears have allowed in a game all year. Missouri State, by contrast hit 61 percent the second half from the floor and .491 (27/55) for the game. The Bears made 8-of-14 three-point tries. Missouri State had a 37-26 rebound margin and came up with seven blocked shots and 14 steals while forcing 21 Evansville turnovers.
Individually, the Bears were balanced and everyone was productive. Dale Lamberth hit four treys and had 12 points and six rebounds; Deven Mitchell scored 14 points with six boards; Justin Fuehrmeyer had 11 points, six assists and no turnovers; Dex Manswell had nine points, six rebounds, four blocks and three steals and Chris Cooks had 10 points and seven rebounds.
Shy Ely was Evansville’s only double-figure scorer with 14 points. The Purple Aces were playing without scoring leader Jason Holsinger who has been idled with a broken hand.
After their quick start in the contest, the Bears ran out to an 18-point bulge at 34-16, and led 36-21 at halftime. A 14-0 run boosted a 38-25 margin to 52-25 five minutes into the second half. The Bears were up 60-34 with 9:18 left and went on their second 16-4 run to produce the final result. Missouri State outscored the Aces 40-17 in the second half as Evansville got just six baskets after the intermission.
Missouri State goes on the road for its next competition, an MVC game Tuesday in Omaha, Neb., against Creighton. Tipoff is 8:05 p.m.