The Drake Bulldogs get a four point play from senior guard Reed Timmer with 1.8 seconds left in regulation to stun the MSU Bears 67-63 Sunday afternoon at JQH Arena in Springfield.
The Bears had just tied the game with 8.1 seconds remaining, but Alize Johnson fouled Timmer as he let a shot go just inside the half court line, and it went in.
Timmer hit the free throw, sealing the win for the Bulldogs, who improve to 16-13 overall, 10-6 in the Missouri Valley Conference.
"I seen one of my teammates just dove on the floor," Johnson said. "I wanted to go help him out. Give credit to Timmer. He made a great play."
"I think the ball was loose and Rhodes went for it," Bears Coach Paul Lusk said. "Can't fault him for that. The kid makes a bomb. I think Zay fouled him. But the game's over if we make our free throws and we didn't go that."
The bizarre ending topped off an emotional game that saw the Bears trail 35-25 at halftime, then come back from a 12 point deficit to take a four point lead in the final two minutes, only to give the lead back to Drake.
The Bulldogs got a three pointer from Graham Woodward with 16 seconds remaining, putting Drake back in front, 63-62.
With 8.1 seconds remaining, Johnson was fouled, and after making the first shot to tie the game 63-63, he missed the second free throw.
Casey Schlatter grabbed the rebound for Drake and got the ball to Timmer, who lost control on the dribble, then got it back to launch the game winning shot.
Dixon, a 74% free throw shooter, missed two foul shots with 26 seconds on the clock, setting up Woodward's trey on the other end.
The game also featured a bizarre ejection of several players on the Missouri State bench.
With 5:58 in the second half and Drake leading 53-49, MSU's Jarred Dixon was fouled hard from behind by the Bulldogs' C.J. Rivers, and the Bears players, including most of the guys on the bench, immediately rushed to their teammate.
After a long delay as the officials looked at the replay monitor, they ejected all the players on the bench, except for J.T. Miller and Tanveer Bhullar.
Obediah Church, Johnson, Mustafa Lawrence, and Dixon were on the court at the time, so they were not ejected, but Ryan Kreklow and Ross Owens were among those tossed.
"I'll have to watch it, but what I saw was I think our guys more than anything, they were concerned about J-D. I don't think there was any ill-intent with anything. But nonetheless, that's the letter of the law. You can't do that. I think they were more concerned about him. They went to get him."
After the game, the officials explained their decision. "It's a rule," crew chief Kelly Self said. "In our rule book, it's Rule 4, Article 2-D. It says that anyone who leaves the bench during a possible fight situation, it automatically ejected. We had no fight. We had a situation where people left the bench, unauthorized. That's it."
Johnson finished with 14 points and 16 rebounds for Missouri State, who drops to 17-12 overall, 7-9 in the Valley.
Miller also put in 14 points in a losing effort, while Church and Dixon added ten points each.
Drake was led by Timmer's 20 points.
The Bulldogs hit eight three pointers, while the Bears made only four in 22 attempts and shot just 39% from the field (26-67).
MSU out-rebounded Drake 41-39.
The Bears will host Bradley Wednesday night at 7:00 p.m. at JQH Arena in their final regular season home game.
Drake improves to 3-24 all-time in Springfield, winning at JQH Arena for the second straight season. Timmer scored 27 points in the Bulldogs' 72-71 overtime win at The Q last year.
Johnson's 36 career double-doubles is tied for the second best career total in the Valley in the last 20 years, trailing only Evansville's Egidijus Mockevicius (57) and and matching Northern Iowa's Eric Coleman (36).
Johnson entered the weekend ranked second nationally in total rebounds.
Sunday's announced attendance at JQH Arena was 4,859.