Missouri State Bears Lead Illinois State 22-17 At Halftime In MVC Tournament
Missouri State's Nathan Scheer (30) jumps to defend the shot by Illinois State's Zach Lofton (23) during the first half of Friday's Missouri Valley Conference Tournament game at Scottrade Center in St. Louis. Image by KTTS News
The Missouri State Bears have jumped out to a 22-17 halftime lead over the Illinois State Redbirds in the quarterfinals of the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament at Scottrade Center in St. Louis.
The Bears broke out of the gate quickly, going ahead 6-1 on freshman Austin Ruder's three pointer at the 15:45 mark.
Ron Mvouika drained a three with 9:54 remaining, then Keith Pickens hit a layup moments later to put MSU up by ten, 15-5.
But the Redbirds went on an 8-0 run to cut the lead to two, 15-13, with 6:33 to go on the half.
Ruder's second three gave the Bears a seven point advantage, 20-13, with 5:18 left.
Christian Kirk finished the half with an exclamation mark by slamming down a ball lofted into the air by Nathan Scheer at the 20 second mark.
Ruder's six points lead Missouri State, while Zach Lofton has nine to pace the Redbirds.
Neither team is shooting well, with MSU hitting eight of 29 shots from the field (28%) and Illinois State shooting 20% (4-20).
The Bears, who are the #4 seed in the tournament, come into today's play 19-11 overall, finishing 9-9 in conference play.
Illinois State, who's seeded fifth, is 16-14 on the season, and also went 9-9 in the Valley regular season.
The winner of today's game meets top seeded Wichita State, who defeated Evansville 80-58 in the first game of the day at Scottrade Center.
The Shockers are now 32-0 to start the season.