skip to nav skip to content
MSU's Anthony Downing Guarded by Jacksonville's Keith McDougald
The comeback fell just short for the MSU Bears Monday night as they lost their second straight game, a 64-58 defeat at the hands of the Jacksonville Dolphins at JQH Arena.
The Bears (1-2), who trailed by 14 points midway through the second half, mounted a furious charge, pulling within one point, 59-58, with 2:24 remaining in regulation when junior Keith Pickens nailed a pair of free throws.
MSU got three big offensive rebounds with two minutes left, only to have freshman Gavin Thurman miss a three point attempt with 1:19 to play. The Bears shot just under 29% from beyond the arc (6-21) after a 17% performance (4-23) in a loss to San Diego State over the weekend.
Keith McDougald hit a driving layup for Jacksonville with 34 seconds remaining to increase the Dolphins' lead to 61-58.
But the Bears had a chance to tie it with one last posession. Senior Anthony Downing, who finished with 15 points for Missouri State, got trapped with the ball in the corner and tried to kick it out to Thurman, who lost control of the ball with 15 seconds left and Jacksonville's Javon Dawson came away with the steal with 13 ticks on the clock.
Downing talked about went went wrong as his team had a chance to tie the game or cut the lead to one. "I got the ball. Coach told me to drive it and try to beat the big man, but I lost control of the ball. I tried to throw it off his legs since I was stuck in the corner and I didn't know if we had any time outs left. I tried to hit his leg and it went through there. It got to Gavin somehow and Gavin just lost control of it."
McDougald hit two last free throws to seal up the win for the Dolphins, who led 30-26 at the half after three lead changes early in the game.
Pickens finished with 11 points for the Bears, and Christian Kirk had ten. McDougald's 17 led the way for Jacksonville, who improves to 2-2 on the season.
Pickens agrees with his coach the right guys are on the court. "I think for the most part the roles are figured out. We just have to bring together a better offense. That's just hitting shots and playing good team defense and being able to outrebound guys instead of being even."
MSU Head Coach Paul Lusk says his team couldn't find any rhythm. "It helps when the ball goes in the basket," Lusk said. "And we have a hard time putting the ball in the basket, whether it's at the free throw line. But I thought we kept trying to find a way to get back into the game. It's so hard to find rhythm, especially when you miss a lot."
Lusk says on his team's last possession and down by three, he thought Jacksonville was going to run a zone and wanted his team to space the floor and drive to the basket if they didn't. "He (Downing) got stuck. He was trying to get the time out, couldn't get it. It was a bad possession, we had a lot of them. We had a lot of possessions. There were times in the first half where we broke their press and it's a three on one and we don't jump stop, we charge."
The Bears struggled from the free throw line, hitting only one of their first seven attempts. Downing and Pickens made it a respectable night from the charity stripe, hitting a combined 13 of 15 attempts as MSU finished 14-24 for the game. Lusk says it's a problem for some of the guys. "Well Downing's a good free throw shooter and Pickens isn't a bad free throw shooter. We were lucky to get the right guys on the foul line because some of our other guys, they've just got to get better in those areas. That's not a surprise to me. I see it every day."
Freshman Drew Wilson, who finished with four points and a team high nine rebounds, is now 0-10 from the free throw line this season. But Lusk says he's doing the right things to help his team win. "He's trying, man. And he'll be in there shooting free throws tomorrow. He's come a million miles from when he set foot on campus, and he's still got a longer way to go with his offensive ability. But give me that effort that he's given us every day of the week and we'll just keep working and getting better."
The Bears will have a chance to get better with a full week of basketball. Monday's game was part of the Hoops for Hope Classic that features two games for Missouri State at JQH Arena and two more on Thanksgiving weekend in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. MSU will take on Division II Malone University Wednesday night at home. Tipoff is 7:05. They'll play South Carolina Saturday night and either SMU or Arkansas-Little Rock on Sunday night in Mexico.
|Submit photos to: