SPRINGFIELD -- Missouri State has knocked down five first-half three-pointers and out-rebounded visiting Wichita State by five to lead the Shockers, 32-21 at the intermission in the Missouri Valley Conference regular-season championship game at JQH Arena.
Both teams entered the regular-season finale with 14-3 conference records and RPIs in the top 48.
The Bears fell behind by a 4-2 count just 95 seconds into the game, but took the lead for good on a three-pointer by Jermaine Mallett at the 17:43 mark. Adam Leonard extended the MSU advantage to six on his first of three treys just over a minute later, and Kyle Weems made it a 13-6 contest with just under 14 minutes to play in the opening half with his only field goal of the first stanza.
MSU kept the defensive presure on the visitors through the midway portion of the half, forcing nine turnovers behind five steals and out-reboundeding WSU by a 20-15 margin, while allowing the Shockers just one offensive carom.
A traditional three-point play by Nathan Scheer with 4:54 remaining gave the Bears their first double-figure lead, 27-16, and MSU allowed just one field goal in the final six minutes to take the 11-point lead into the break.
MSU is 10-for-26 (.385) in the first half from the field and 5-of-12 (.417) from three-point range. MSU has made just 7-of-13 (.538) from the charity stripe and has nine turnovers of its own. Leonard and Mallett have 9 points apiece for the Bears, while Weems has a game-high 6 rebounds.
WSU was led by Demetric Williams with 5 points. The Shockers are 9-for-26 (.346), 0-for-6 from three, and 3-for-3 (1.000) at the line.
The game will also decide the No. 1 seed for the State Farm MVC Tournament, which begins Thursday in St. Louis. The MVC Tournament No. 1 seed has made the NCAA Tournament every year since 1993.