Home Basketball MVC Arch Madness Game 4 – Missouri State 74, UIC 57

MVC Arch Madness Game 4 – Missouri State 74, UIC 57

by Mike Kern

Sophomore guard Alston Mason scored 17 points, while junior forward Jonathan Mogbo added 15 points, eight rebounds and three blocked shots, keying No. 6 seed Missouri State to a 74-57 triumph over No. 11 seed UIC in the opening round of the State Farm Missouri Valley Conference Tournament Thursday night at the Enterprise Center.

Missouri State became the first No. 6 seed to win an MVC Tournament game since the Bears accomplished feat in 2020, beating Indiana State, 78-51, in quarterfinal round.

The Bears, winning their third straight game, improved to 17-14 entering a quarterfinal round game Friday against Southern Illinois at 8:30 p.m.  This marked the eighth straight year Missouri State has advanced to the quarterfinal round.

The Bears defense was sparked by Mogbo who matched a career-high with three blocks. The  Bears had nine blocks, one shy of a season high 10 set vs. UIC Nov. 30 in Chicago. It was also the most blocked shots in an MVC Tournament game since Bradley had 12 vs. Southern Illinois in the 2020 MVC Tournament quarterfinal round game.

Mogbo also had five dunks— his 12th game with multiple dunks and the eighth time in the last 11 games.

UIC was limited to 5-of-21 three-pointers after making 10 and 12 treys in two previous games against Missouri State. The Flames lost their second consecutive game and ended their first season in the Missouri Valley with a 12-20 record. Sophomore guard Jace Carter  paced UIC with 14 points, while freshman guard Christian Jones added 12 points off the bench.

Missouri State took a 34-30 lead into intermission, paced by nine points by both Alston Mason and Kendle Moore. Mogbo added eight points and three blocked shots.. The Bears had six blocks in the first half.

Missouri State opened the game on a 13-4 run with seven points from Mason and six by Mogbo. An 8-0 surge by UIC cut the lead to 21-20 on three by Christian Jones, and then Jones hit a corner another three to tie the game at 23-23 with 6:27 left. Reserve Jaden Brownell scored the last five points of the first half for the Flames after failing to score in the previous two games against Missouri State.

Damien Mayo, who was scoreless in the first half, tallied 11 straight points in an 11-4 run during a 4:21 stretch that gave the Bears a 51-38 lead with 13:45 left. The lead grew to 56-40 on a three-pointer by James Graham with 11:58 to play. The Bears shot 55.2 percent (16-29) in the second half.

Mayo finished with 13 points.

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