Dec. 22, 2011
LAS VEGAS -- Missouri State has battled to an even 32-32 first half against Big East Conference West Virginia in the third round of the Continental Tire Las Vegas Classic.
Despite a 19-10 rebounding disadvantage in the first stanza, the Bears came to play and scorched the Mountaineers for six three-pointers by five different players to keep pace.
MSU went up 8-4 on a trey by Kyle Weems two-and-a-half minutes into the game, but used a series of up-close buckets to come back later in the half.
After WVU battled ahead 21-16, the Bears ended a five-minute scoring drought on a steal and layup by Jarmar Gulley. A Weems dunk followed on the next possession, and a Michael Bizoukas layup in traffic brought the Bears back within one with 7:49 to go.
Later in the half, it was Bizoukas again who distributed the ball and kept the Bears' efforts focused. He found a wide-open Caleb Patterson for three to put MSU on top 30-29, and then gave the Bears a 32-29 lead with 68 seconds to go in the half with a short runner.
WVU retaliated with a three-pointer of its own by Aaron Brown out of the right wing to tie the game just before the intermission.
MSU was 13-for-25 (.520) from the field and 6-of-13 (.462) from long distance in the first half, but did not attempt a free throw. The Bears committed 8 turnovers, no fewer than three of which were created by slippage on the floor decals at the Orleans Arena. Weems led MSU with 8 points in the early going.
WVU was 12-for-26 (.462) from the field and 4-of-14 (.286) from bonus range. The Mountaineers were 4-of-7 (.571) at the line and turned the ball over 10 times with 10 second-chance points. Kevin Jones has 9 points to lead WVU.
The game is airling live on www.radiospringfield.com and www.ESPN3.com.