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Thursday, March 18, 2010 | Men's Basketball
Bears Topple Middle Tennessee in First Round of CIT
On Wednesday in men's basketball, Missouri State joined Creighton as a first-round winner in the CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament with an eight-point win against Middle Tenneessee, while Illinois State and Wichita State saw their seasons come to an end in the first round of the NIT.
Missouri State 87, Middle Tennessee State 79
SPRINGFIELD -- Missouri State got 24 points from sophomore Kyle Weems and shot a season-high 60.4-percent from the field to turn back visiting Middle Tennessee, 87-79, in the first round of the CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament here Wednesday.
The Bears (21-12), whose team shooting effort was also a JQH Arena record, will learn their next opponent at the conclusion of the tournament's opening round Thursday night. The tournament pairings are redrawn after each round based on geographic and conference considerations.
Missouri State's victory was well earned as it held off a pesky Blue Raiders team down the stretch. MTSU finished with an impressive shooting performance of its own, firing at a 53.6-percent clip for the game, while senior Desmond Yates notched a game-high 30 points, including 10 in the final four-and-a-half minutes.
After the Bears built a 64-48 lead on Kyle Weems' third three-pointer of the game at the 9:05 mark of the second half, Middle Tennessee stormed back to make it a game. Yates' three-pointer at the 4:30 mark made it a 68-66 contest as the Blue Raiders concluded an 18-4 run that included four treys.
However, on Missouri State's very next possession, Adam Leonard drained his third long-range shot of the night to build the Bears' lead back to five. From there, Cuonzo Martin's squad executed to perfection, making all seven free throw attempts down the stretch and keeping MTSU at least five points behind the rest of the way.
Weems' three-pointer with 2:32 to play extended Missouri State's lead to 76-68, and nearly a minute later, Will Creekmore completed a traditional three-point play to give MSU an 81-71 edge with 99 seconds to go.
The Blue Raiders would close within 85-79 with 42 seconds on the clock before Leonard iced a pair of free throws in the six seconds later.
Middle Tennessee hit nine of its 11 three-pointers in the second half, while the Bears were 8-of-9 from long distance in the final 20 minutes.
For the game, the Bears finished 29-for-48 from the field and 9-of-16 (.563) from three-point range, matching a season-best. The Bears were also 20-of-24 (.833) at the free throw line. With so few missed shots in the contest, the Bears grabbed a season-low 24 rebounds, matching Middle Tennessee's total.
Leonard scored 17 points for the Bears, joining Weems, Creekmore (14) and Jermaine Mallett (13) in double figures as the Bears improved to 16-2 at JQH Arena this season. Creekmore's seven rebounds was a game high, while Nafis Ricks notched a game-high five assists for MSU.
In addition to Yates' 30 points, the Blue Raiders got 16 from Montarrio Haddock and 13 from Washington. Yates, who was the most valuable player of Missouri State's home tournament last season, ended his career with 1,775 points in 122 games.
The announced attendance of 3,023 was the fourth-lowest since the 1982-83 season for the Bears who averaged more than 7,300 fans per home game during the regular season.
Nevada 74, Wichita State 70
WICHITA, KAN. - Wichita State compiled a 7-0 run to cut Nevada's lead to two points late in the second half, but the Shockers were unable to complete the comeback. The sixth-seeded Nevada Wolf Pack went on to a 74-70 win Wednesday in the first round of the NIT at Charles Koch Arena.
The third-seeded Shockers' season ended with their first home loss of the season in front of a crowd of 9,112. Wichita State finished with a 25-10 record overall, including a 17-1 home record, and with their 19th postseason appearance.
The Wolf Pack (21-12), who compete in the WAC, advanced to play Rhode Island in the second round of the NIT. Rhode Island defeated Northwestern, 76-64, Wednesday in a first round game at Kingston, R.I.
Wichita State trailed by four points with 18 seconds remaining in regulation and missed its final three field goal attempts of the game.
The Wolf Pack made 17-of-18 free throws in the win, shooting 94.4 percent from the line. Nevada sophomore forward Luke Babbitt finished 9-for-9 from the line and helped seal the win with two free throws with 18 seconds left in the game.
Babbitt led all scorers with 23 points. Sophomore guard Toure' Murry paced Wichita State with 15 points. Junior guard Graham Hatch posted 14 points for the Shockers.
Dayton 63, Illinois State 42
DAYTON, Ohio – Dayton used a 14-3 run in the first half to build a 13-point lead and never looked back, as Illinois State dropped a 63-42 decision to the Flyers Wednesday night in the first round of the 2010 National Invitation Tournament at UD Arena.
Osiris Eldridge finished his Illinois State career with a team-best 12 points, all by way of the three-point shot, despite being bothered by his sore shooting wrist.
Illinois State ends its season with a 22-11 mark, while Dayton improved to 21-12 overall.
The Redbirds cut the lead to 42-37, on a basket by Dinma Odiakosa, but Dayton rattled off a 19-1 and coasted to the 21-point win.
With Dayton leading 11-9 at the 11:33 mark in the first half, the Flyers used a 14-3 run to build their lead to 25-12 with 4:11 left. The Redbirds trailed 30-19 at the intermission with Odiakosa, a first-team All-Missouri Valley Conference selection, only playing three first half minutes due to two personal fouls.
Eldridge was the only Redbird in double-digit scoring. Odiakosa finished with eight points and Kellen Thornton added eight, all in the first half. Lloyd Phillips and Alex Rubin were scoreless, while shooting a combined 0-for-10 from the field.
Chris Johnson led Dayton with 13 points, the only Flyer in double figures.
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