Jan. 31, 2015
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SPRINGFIELD - Missouri State (9-13, 3-7 MVC) got back on the winning track here Saturday, scoring a 52-46 win over visiting Southern Illinois and snapping a seven-game Missouri Valley Conference skid in the process before 6,324 fans at JQH Arena.
Gavin Thurman scored 11 points and snagged 6 rebounds to lead MSU (9-13, 3-7), while Camyn Boone added 9 points, and Tyler McCullough scored 7 points with 6 boards for the winning side.
The Salukis (9-14, 2-8) were led by sophomore Kyle Smithpeters and freshman Jordan Caroline with 14 points apiece, while Anthony Beane scored 11 points, despite going 3-for-10 from the field.
After a see-saw battle through the first 15 minutes of the game, MSU used a 6-0 run with six minutes to go in the opening half to take a 19-14 lead on a close-range bucket by Thurman. SIU closed its deficit to 21-19 on a pair of jump shots by Caroline, but the Bears rallied before the intermission on a put-back by McCullough and baseline jumper by Roundtree before the horn to lead 23-19 at the midway point.
In the second half, it was Roundtree who scored big points again for the home side, first on a runner to put the Bears up 31-23, and later on a 3-pointer at the 12-minute mark to give Missouri State its first double-digit lead, 37-25.
The Bears would build their lead to as many as 16 points from there as the Salukis went nearly 10 minutes without a field goal, scoring 8-of-10 free throws in that span to maintain any semblance of an offense.
Beane ended the drought for SIU with a 3-pointer with 4:43 to play, but Thurman quickly responded on MSU's next possession with a traditional 3-point play that got the MSU lead back to 14 points, 50-36, just before the four-minute mark.
But with victory in sight, MSU would tighten up down the stretch and went the rest of the night without a field goal, and the Bears converted just 2-of-5 free throws to open the door for Barry Hinson's squad. Southern responded with 10-2 run to close out the contest and make the final score respectable as Caroline scored three times, and Smithpeters drained his second trey of the night in the final minute.
Paul Lusk's Bears shot an even 50 percent in the second half on 12-of-24 shots to finish at 45.8 percent for the game (22-for-48). MSU struggled from beyond the arc again, firing below 30 percent for the fifth time in seven games with a 2-for-15 (.133) effort, while scoring just 6-of-11 (.545) free throws.
MSU did own the rebounding advantage, 33-27 and allowed SIU just 3 offensive caroms on the night. The Bears also committed 13 turnovers with 22 personal fouls - their most since the last meeting against SIU on Dec. 31.
SIU finished 14-for-42 (.333) overall and 4-of-13 (.308) from bonus distance with 11 turnovers. The Salukis got to the line 26 times, 20 in the second half, but converted just 14 for a 53.8-percent effort from the stripe.
The Bears' bench accounted for 29 points - its second-best effort of the year - with McCullough, Thurman, Shawn Roundtree (7 points) and Loomis Gerring (4 points) providing support for a starting unit that combined to go 9-for-26 from the floor. The MSU bench also out-rebounded the starters, 17-14, with Roundtree dishing out a game-high 4 assists in reserve.
MSU started and ended the month of January with victories, but struggled through the seven losses in between that saw the Bears drop three straight home games for just the second time ever at JQH Arena. The victory gave Missouri State its first season sweep over Southern Illinois since 2011-12.
The Bears conclude their current two-game home stand Wednesday against Loyola (13-9, 3-7 MVC), in an 8 p.m., start on FOX Sports Midwest. Tickets for the game are available now at MissouriStateBears.com, or during regular hours at the Missouri State Athletics Box Office at JQH Arena, (417) 836-7678.