The Missouri State Bears get 12 three pointers and double up on the Loyola Ramblers 70-35 Wednesday night at JQH Arena in Springfield.
In a game featured on national television with CBS Sports Network, the Bears jumped out to a 30-24 halftime lead, then coasted in the second half, going on a 30-4 run and taking a 36 point lead on the defending Missouri Valley Conference champions with 3:00 minutes left in the game.
Missouri State shot 63% percent from the field (26-41), and could do no wrong, out-scoring, out-defending, and out-playing the Ramblers, who played in the NCAA Final Four a year ago.
Keandre Cook finished with five treys and had a game high 21 points.
Josh Webster and Tulio Da Silva put in 14 points each for the Bears.
Cameron Krutwig scored 15 to lead Loyola, who made just two of ten three point attempts.
Bears Coach Dana Ford says his team needed a win like that. “We’re not as bad a shooting team as we’ve showed the last couple of games. Now, we’re not as good as we were tonight, either. Really happy for our players. I thought defensively, they were active enough, along with Loyola missing some shots that they normally make. We were able to clean up the rebounds pretty good, and I thought we were pretty much locked in for 40 minutes.”
Ford, who played three years for Loyola Coach Porter Moser when he was at Illinois State, has a lot of respect for his former boss. “I have so much respect for coach because I was an inherited player for him. He didn’t have to keep me, and he did, for three years. Three tough years, because two of those years, we weren’t very good. As a player, like any player that gets a new coach, I wasn’t always fond of coach. But as I’ve gotten into coaching, I appreciate him way more, because now I’m on this side. In fact, a lot of the terminology we use, is what I got from him.”
Webster, who carried a sign into the postgame press conference reading “Defend No Matter What,” says he and his teammates are “If we’re down, we still play defense. If we make shots, we still play defense. No matter what, we still play defense. That’s our new motto.”
Webster says the sign is the creation of Associate Head Coach Corey Gipson, who proudly held it throughout the game on the Bears’ bench.
Missouri State played some inspired defense, outscoring the Ramblers 40-11 in the second half.
The Bears improve to 9-11 on the season and are now 3-4 in the Missouri Valley Conference.
Loyola drops to 12-8, 5-2.
Missouri State will play at home against Bradley this Saturday, January 26th at 3:00 p.m.
MSU’s win by 35 points marked the team’s largest margin of victory in a conference game since defeating Evansville 76-38 at Hammons Student Center on February 16, 2008.
Loyola’s 11 second half points matches the JQH Arena record low previously set by Central Arkansas against the Bears on December 13th, 2008 (1st half).
Loyola’s nine total rebounds set a new arena record for fewest in a game, shattering the previous mark of 19 set by the Bears against Valparaiso on December 15, 2012. It’s also a new NCAA Division I record low for this season (previous 13 rebounds).
Missouri State’s 63.4% field goal percentage came up just short of the JQH Arena record 63.8% set by Southern Illinois against the Bears on January 27, 2018.
Wednesday’s announced attendance at The Q was 4,863.