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Edited news release from MSU Athletics:
DES MOINES, Iowa -- Anthony Downing scored a season-high 24 points, and Missouri State (4-11, 2-1) shot 51 percent from the field to capture its first road win of the season here Saturday with a 77-65 Missouri Valley Conference decision over Drake.
Gavin Thurman added 13 points for the Bears, while Marcus Marshall scored 11, and Keith Pickens added 10 as MSU claimed its sixth straight win over the Bulldogs (6-8, 0-3). Nathan Scheer also pitched in with a game-high and career-high 8 rebounds for Paul Lusk's squad.
The Bears trailed for the first 97 seconds, but never fell behind again after Downing tied the game up with his first field goal of the night. MSU built its advantage to 16 points in the first half and led 36-26 at the intermission.
Drake opened the second half with a 12-4 run in the first four minutes to make it a 40-38 game after a 3-point play by Utah transfer Chris Hines. The Bears responded with a 3-pointer by Marshall to give the visitors some breathing room, 43-38. But Drake rallied again with a basket by Hines and a contested jumper by Ben Simons made it a one-point contest with 14:16 to go.
Missouri State pitched a shut out for the next four-and-a-half minutes and stretched its lead to nine with a Downing layup and three consecutive baskets by Pickens, including his first dunk of the year, to make it 51-42 with just over 10 minutes remaining.
Drake took advantage of a trio of traditional 3-point plays over the next three minutes to pull back within 55-53 just just over seven minutes on the clock. But once again, the Bears had an answer. A 30-foot bomb by Downing gave the Bears a five-point cushion before he made a free throw with just under 5 minutes to play. Pickens closed out the 6-0 MSU outburst with a baseline pull-up jumper that made it a 61-53 game at the 4:05 mark.
Mark Phelps' squad put together one final rally from there, collecting layups from Jordan Clarke and Simons over the next minute to make it a four-point game. But Thurman's second trey of the night at the 2:05 mark found its mark and put the maroons ahead 64-57.
The Bears made 11-of-12 free throws from there and closed out their second double-figure victory in conference play.
Drake was led by freshman Joey King's 21 points on 8-of-15 shooting, while Simons scored 17, and Hines added 10.
In the first half, the Bears stretched an early 4-2 lead into a 13-7 advantage just under seven minutes into the game with a flurry of 3-pointers, including two by Downing and one by Marshall. The Bulldogs clawed their way back within two on a trey by Simons at the 11:40 mark, but the Bears responded with an 13-3 run as six different Bears found the scoring column to stretch their advantage to 28-16 with 5:40 remaining in the opening stanza.
Clarke ended the Bears' run with a put-back of his own miss, but the Bears got a pair of buckets from Drew Wilson, and free throws by Scheer and Thurman to return the favor. Scheer's two charity shots with 66 seconds left in the first stanza pushed MSU ahead 36-20, its biggest lead of the game.
The Bulldogs got 3-pointers from Simons and King in the final 51 seconds to pull within 10 at the break.
Missouri State out-rebounded Drake 33-29 for the game and took advantage of 10 Bulldog turnovers with 17 points off of mishaps. MSU shot 25-for-49 (.510) from the field, including 56.5 percent in the second half and made 8-of-18 (.444) from 3-point range. The Bears bounced back from a 1-for-7 start at the charity stripe to finish 19-for-28 (.679) at the line, matching a season high for free throw attempts and knocking down 12-of-14 in the second period.
The Bears also committed just seven turnovers on the night
Drake finished 23-for-55 (.418) from the field and 6-of-21 (.286) from beyond the arc. The Bulldogs were 13-for-16 (.813) from the free throw line.
Missouri State resumes conference play on Tuesday night at JQH Arena when it hosts the Illinois State Redbirds (9-6, 0-3) at 7:05 p.m. Tickets for the ISU game are available now at www.MissouriStateTix.com or beginning Monday during regular box office hours at the Chevy Pickup Window at JQH Arena and at (417) 836-7678.
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