The Missouri State Bears fell behind by four points in the second half, but bounced back to pull away from the Evansville Purple Aces 72-58 Saturday night at JQH Arena.
The Bears jumped out to a 9-2 lead and held a 28-21 advantage at halftime, then got a three point play from Donovan Clay, who hit a layup, was fouled, and made a free throw to give MSU a 31-21 lead just a minute into the second half.
But Evansville put together a 13-0 run to grab a 42-38 lead with 12:08 left in regulation.
The Bears took the lead when Gaige Prim hit a shot underneath the bucket with 10:31 remaining, giving MSU a 45-44 advantage.
Evansville knotted the contest 47-47 with 9:11 remaining, but Donovan Clay’s layup with 8:57 left in regulation gave the Bears a lead they would not relinquish, sending them on a 13-0 run to pull away from the Aces.
Prim scored 23 points to lead the Bears, while Isiaih Mosley added 14. Clay had 11, and Lu’cye Patterson added ten points.
Clay led the team with 13 rebounds, and the Bears pulled down 42 boards overall.
Jawaun Newton’s 18 points led Evansville, with Shamar Givance scoring 17.
Prim and the Bears got to the free throw line, with the senior going 9-14 from the stripe and MSU hitting 21 of 29.
Evansville went 9-10 from the free throw line.
Both teams hit five three pointers, with the Bears going 5-19 and Evansville 5-22 from beyond the arc.
The Bears improve to 16-7 overall, 7-3 in the Missouri Valley Conference, while the Aces drop to 5-15, 1-8 in the league.
Missouri State finishes January with a 7-2 record, and will open the final full month of the regular season Wednesday night at 8:00 on the road against Southern Illinois.
MSU Coach Dana Ford talked about his team’s performance Saturday in his postgame press conference: