SPRINGFIELD, MO - Missouri State (16-14, 9-8) shot a season-low 31.3 percent from the field and never led here Wednesday in a 59-46 Missouri Valley Conference setback to visiting Indiana State.
The Sycamores (17-12, 8-9) spoiled MSU's chance to lock up the No. 3 seed for next week's State Farm MVC Tournament in St. Louis and handed the Bears just their third senior-night defeat since they moved to Division I in 1982-83.
Dwayne Lathan led three ISU players in double figures with 12 points. Indiana State finished 21-for-49 (.440) from the field and out-rebounded the home club 41-34.
After Indiana State expanded its 10-point halftime lead to 12 on the first bucket of the second half, MSU got the offense rolling and put together a 9-0 run to pull within 30-27 at the 14:42 mark. A three-point play by Kyle Weems and a hook shot by Christian Kirk put the exclamation mark on the run and got the Bears back in the running.
Indiana State ended a five-minute scoring drought at the 12:57 mark when Lathan dropped in a three-pointer from the left wing to stretch the ISU advantage back to six. A fast-break layup by Steve McWhorter followed on the next Sycamores' possession to stretch the game back to 35-27.
The Bears got a layup by Jarmar Gulley and a quick jumper by Caleb Patterson on their next two possessions to make it a 37-31 game with 10:39 remaining. But, Indiana State had an answer for every run after that.
After a jumper off an in-bound play by Kyle Weems with 6:38 to go made it 44-36, the Bears got their final 10 points from Anthony Downing. Indiana State, meanwhile stretched out the clock, got the breaks it needed on both ends of the floor, and added 15 points down the stretch to hand MSU just its third double-figure loss ever at JQH Arena.
Downing finished with a game-high 14 points, while Gulley tacked on 13 points and 10 rebounds for his first double-double at Missouri State.
The Bears' four seniors all scored, but combined for just 14 points, including 7 by Weems who had a 28-game double-figure scoring streak snapped. Michael Bizoukas scored three, while Patterson and Isaiah Rhine added two points apiece.
Missouri State was 20-for-64 from the field and just 2-of-16 (.125) from three-point range. As was the case last March when ISU upset the Bears in the MVC Tournament finals in St. Louis, the Sycamores kept the Bears off the foul line as MSU made just 4-for-6 (.667) free throws.
MSU had just 7 turnovers on the night while forcing 13.
ISU got 11 points from Jordan Printy and 10 from Carl Richard, while Jake Odum snagged 10 rebounds. The Sycamores were 12-for-15 (.800) at the charity stripe and were called for just 12 fouls.
Late in the first half, a 12-0 run by the visitors put ISU ahead, 28-18, at the intermission. The Sycamores scored the game's first five points and have never trailed the rest of the night.
The Bears got a tip-in from Gulley at the 8:38 mark to pull MSU within 13-12. After a Printy trey pushed ISU back ahead by four, Rhine knocked down a short jumper from the left baseline to make it a 16-14 game.
But, from there, it was all Indiana State over the last five minutes of the first half. ISU reeled off 12 straight before Gulley closed out the half with four unanswered points. During the Sycamores' run, they led by as many as 14 before the late rally by Gulley.
The loss by the Bears now has them tied with Drake for third place in the Valley standings with one game to go. The Bears travel to Evansville (14-14, 8-9) Saturday at 1:05 for the regular-season finale and a chance to solidify the third seed with a victory. MSU would win a tie-breaker with Drake based on its season sweep of the Bulldogs.
Evansville, Illinois State, Northern Iowa and Indiana State are in a four-way tie for fifth place -- one game behind the Bears -- headed into the final game of the MVC slate, while Wichita State (1) and Creighton (2) have locked up the top spots.