Knapp Hits for 14 Points to Lead Bears to 63-46 Win Over UCA
Senior center Wade Knapp was 5-for-6 from the field and had six rebounds to help Missouri State to a 63-46 win over Central Arkansas at JQH Arena Saturday night. The Bears shot 57.1 percent from the field in the second half and held the visitors from Conway, Ark. to a 35.8 shooting clip for the game, including 1-for-13 from three-point range.
It was Missouri State's fourth win of the season against Division I opponents from Arkansas.
Missouri State (5-3) never trailed, but went eight minutes and 26 seconds without a field goal in the first half after Justin Fuehrmeyer gave the Bears a 6-2 lead at the 13:41 mark with his first three-pointer of the season. UCA tied the game, 6-6, at the 11:14 mark, but a 7-0 MSU run increased the home team's lead to seven points. Fuehrmeyer hit another three with 21.6 seconds left in the half to build the team's lead to nine at the break, 20-11.
After a technical was called on UCA's Marcus Pillow going into the locker room at halftime, it took coach Cuonzo Martin's squad just over two and a half minutes to extend its advantage to 34-13 in the second half. Chris Cooks made both technical free throws, before a pair of three-pointers by Ryan Jehle and two buckets by Knapp right out of the gate, helped the Bears build their biggest lead of the game.
The 21-point MSU lead at the 17:26 mark motivated Central Arkansas (4-4), which responded with a 10-0 run to keep things close. Former Missouri State player Rand Chappel's UCA squad built a 39-28 rebounding advantage in the game, which helped it climb within six points of the Bears with 6:02 remaining on a pair of free throws by Brooks Taylor. Taylor and Mike Pouncy led UCA with 12 points apiece.
However, Knapp closed out the final six minutes with three buckets, while Kyle Weems hit a three-pointer with 2:08 remaining to extend MSU's lead to 58-43 at the time. Weems scored nine off the bench for the Bears, while Fuehrmeyer was 3-for-4 from three-point range and finished with 12 points in a reserve capacity.
Jehle was the third Missouri State player in double figures with 10 points, matching his career high, and Chris Cooks matched Knapp for the team lead with six rebounds.
Missouri State will have six days off before welcoming Norfolk State to town Saturday night at 8:05 p.m. in the second game of the Travelers Tip-Off Tourney at JQH. Middle Tennessee and UC-Irvine will play the 5:35 p.m. game Saturday night. MSU will also play UC-Irvine on Sunday and Middle Tennessee State on Monday in the event, which features two games each evening.