The Missouri State Bears jumped out to a 9-0 lead and never looked back, defeating the Loyola Ramblers 74-62 Saturday afternoon at JQH Arena in Springfield.
The Bears dominated the Ramblers, leading 41-23 at halftime.
Loyola (19-10, 11-5) got within eight of the lead on two occasions in the second half, but the Bears pulled away down the stretch.
Keandre Cook scored 21 points to lead MSU, while Gaige Prim added 16.
Freshman Isiaih Mosley scored 11 off the bench, hitting a big three pointer with 11:01 left in regulation after Loyola had just pulled within eight of the lead.
By the 7:34 mark, when Cook drained his second trey of the game, the Bears were back up by 18, tying their largest lead of the contest.
Marquise Kennedy’s 16 points were tops for the Ramblers.
Bears Coach Dana Ford talked to the media after his team posted its third straight win:
Missouri State (14-15, 8-8) will play at Valparaiso Tuesday night at 7:00 p.m.
With two games left in the Valley, the Bears still have a chance to finish in the top six and avoid the play-in game in the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament.
Missouri State won the battle of the boards, out-rebounding Loyola 35-26.
There were 54 fouls called in the game, 28 on MSU and 26 on the Ramblers.
Loyola shot 50% from the field (20-40) in a losing effort, going 4-11 from three point range. The Bears hit 41% of their shots (24-58) and went 7-21 from beyond the arc.
MSU has won five of its last seven meetings against the Ramblers.
Saturday’s announced attendance at JQH Arena was 4,251.