Home College Mason Keys Missouri State To First-Round Win Past Murray State

Mason Keys Missouri State To First-Round Win Past Murray State

by Mick Lite

Guard Alston Mason had a game-high 22 points, including 16 in the second half, fielding No. 9 seeded Missouri State to a 60-35 victory over No. 8 seed Murray State in the opening round of State Farm Missouri Valley Conference Tournament at the Enterprise Center Thursday afternoon.

The Bears, who earned their second straight win, improved to 17-15, while advancing to Friday’s quarterfinal round against top-seeded Indiana State in a 12 p.m. tip off.

The last time a team scored fewer than 40 points in an MVC Tournament was Bradley against UNI March 6, 2010 & Drake against UNI March 5, 2010.

Missouri State took advantage of cold shooting by Murray State to enjoy a 27-14 halftime lead, marking the first time the Bears had owned a double-figure halftime lead against an MVC opponent this season. Murray State missed its last 11 shots to close out the first half, scoring its last basket with 5:24 left in the period. Owning a 14-10 lead, Missouri State closed out the half on a 13-4 run.

The 14 points by Murray State at halftime were the fifth fewest points scored in the first half by a team in the MVC Tournament. Murray State’s 17.9 percent shooting in the first half was the seventh lowest in a half by a team in the MVC Tournament.

Missouri State forward N.J. Benson enjoyed his ninth double-double of the season with 10 points and 12 rebounds. He had a combined six points (0,6) and a combined 8 rebounds (1,7) in two previous games against Murray State this season.

Murray State, which suffered their third straight loss, closed out the season with a 12-20 record. The Racers set season lows in scoring (35), field goal percentage (.211), three-point field goal percentage (.100) and three-point baskets made (two).

Junior guard JaCobi Wood led the Racers with 12 points. He had a combined 31 points (19,12) in his previous two games against the Bears this year. Junior Nick Ellington had a game-high nine rebounds.

A basket by Donovan Clay gave Missouri State its largest lead of the game at 41-21. Murray State used an 8-0 run punctuated by a three-point basket from Quincy Anderson – the Racers’ first trey of game- to pull within 41-29 with 9:51 remaining.

Missouri State closed out the game with a 17-3 run over the last 7:50 of the game with Mason fueling the surge with 10 points. Murray State missed 10 of its last 11 shots to end the game.

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Mick Lite served for 12 years in the military and is now an entrepreneur and photographer. Has worked as the official scorer and social media manager for the River City Rascals, Statistician for the Missouri Monsters and St. Louis Attack arena football teams, and as the Team Photographer and social media consultant for the St. Charles Chill, SLU Hockey, St. Louis Slam, and Gateway Grizzlies.

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