Records and Tournament Notes: Tonight’s quarterfinal round evening session attendance is 6,521. This is the first time in MVC tourney history the top three seeds (#1 UNI, #2 Loyola, #3 ISU) have all gone down to defeat in the quarterfinal round.
Missouri State: The Bears win their second straight and fifth in their last seven games to move into the MVC tournament semifinals for the first time since 2017 when they lost to Wichita State. The Bears’ season record is even at 16-16 (the same final record MSU had in 2018-19) and their overall MVC tourney mark is 32-28. The Bears played Indiana State in the MVC tourney for the first time since a loss to ISU in the 2011 championship game. The only other MSU-ISU tourney game was a Bears’ win in the 1999 quarterfinals. Coach Dana Ford is 32-32 in his second MSU season, 1-1 in MVC tourney play. The Bears have a 49-26 series advantage over ISU.
Missouri State Notes: Gaige Prim’s 17 points marked the 24th time in 27 games he’s scored in double figures. After hitting no more than one trey in any of his first 16 games, Ross Owens was 3/3 from long range last Saturday vs. SIU and then hit 2/3 trey tries tonight. The Bears are 6-3 since Owens joined the starting lineup. MSU, ranked 28th nationally in rebound margin (+5.8) has outrebounded 8 of its last 9 foes by 10 or more boards, including 45-26 tonight. After going scoreless in the first half, Bears’ leading scorer Keandre Cook had 13 in the second half. The Bears finished at .500 (31/62) from the floor. The Bears had a 40-22 scoring advantage in the paint and 38-5 in bench points. Five Bears scored in double figures; fourth time this year that has happened.
Indiana State loss – The Sycamores, who had a five-game winning streak snapped, falls to 18-12. Indiana State suffered its fifth straight MVC Tournament loss dating back to a semifinal round setback to Evansville in 2016. The Sycamores MVC Tournament record falls to 25-36 including a 6-3 mark as the No. 3 seed and a 1-2 tourney record vs. Missouri State.
Indiana State notes: Freshman forward Jake LaRavia and senior guard Jordan Barnes led Indiana State with 14 points apiece with each scoring nine in the second half. LaRavia grabbed a team-high eight rebounds. Barnes added a game-high four steals—his seventh game collecting three or more steals this season. Tyreke Key, a first-team All-MVC choice, added 10 points. Key, who ranked No. 4 in MVC in free throw percentage (.846), failed to attempt free throw.
First Half: MSU hit a trey with 14 minutes left in the half for the Bears’ first lead at 7-5. ISU drew back even at 9-9 and then went up 12-9 on for a 7-0 run. The Bears pushed back ahead 19-14 before ISU got a trey to end a 2:25 minute scoring drought with 7:10 left in the half. The Bears grabbed a 23-17 lead. Tulio DaSilva (6) and Gaige Prim (5) have combined for more rebounds than the entire ISU team as the Bears moved ahead 27-18 with 3:15 left in the half. MSU pushed its lead into double digits at 31-20 with 1:30 left. ISU scored at the buzzer to cut the gap to 34-24 at halftime. Leading 23-18, MSU hit 5 of its last 7 shots in the half. MSU is 12-3 leading at halftime. ISU is 3-9 trailing at halftime. Top MSU season scorer Keandre Cook was scoreless in the first half. MSU enjoyed a 23-14 rebound edge and was shooting .500 (15/30) for the half while ISU was .310 (9/29). Prim and Lamont West led the Bears with 10 points each while three players paced ISU with 5 each.
Second Half: The Bears jumped from the break with a 7-2 run for a 41-26 edge and expanded that margin to 48-30 by the 15-minute mark of the half. A 7-0 run drew ISU back at 48-37 with 13:12 to play. Jake Laravia (9) and Jordan Barnes (5) scored 14 of ISU’s first 16 points in the second half. The Bears moved back up by 18 at 60-42 with 7:44 minutes remaining and to 64-42 with 6:45 to play. The 78-51 final was the Bears’ biggest lead.