Nov. 24, 2012
PUERTO VALLARTA, Mexico -- Missouri State's swarming defense has helped the Bears overcome a rebounding deficit to lead 33-28 at the half over South Carlina in the Hoops for Hope Classic here.
The Bears are led by Anthony Downing's 10 points, while Christian Kirk has scored 7.
After the Bears jumped ahead 11-3 in the first three-and-a-half minutes, the MSU offense went cold, and the Gamecocks reeled off the game's next 13 points to take a 16-11 advantage.
A steal and layup by Downing with 8:32 left in the opening stanza broke an eight-minute stretch without a field goal for the Bears and made it a 19-16 game at the time. Downing would pull the Bears within two 36 seconds later with a solitary free throw, before a tough bucket in traffic by Kirk tied the game with 7:22 to go.
Dorrian Williams' layup gave the Bears the lead with just over six-and-a-half to play, but the SEC squad went on a 6-2 run, including a clutch three by Brian Richardson that helped put USC ahead 24-23 at the time before a Lakeem Jackson free throw pushed the Gamecocks ahead 25-23.
Later, Williams tied the game again with a floater in traffic, but momentum briefly went back to USC as it got a free throw by Jackson and an offensive rebound off his second miss that Mindaugas Kacinas converted into two points.
But The Bears ralleid for the final eight points of the period with a 3-pointer by Bruce Marshall, a put-back by Nathan Scheer and back-to-back steals by Downing that netted a layup and a free throw.
MSU was 11-for-25 (.440) in the first period and 2-for-8 (.250) from bonus distance while going 9-for-15 (.600) at the line. MSU was out-rebounded 16-7 with no player grabbing more than one carom, but the Bears turned the ball over just six times.
South Carolina was led by Richardson's 11 points, including three 3-pointers. USC has 20 turnovers through 20 minutes.