Thursday night saw two teams take to the court who have played some strong basketball this season, but haven’t quite seen the results they have been hoping for. The IUPUI Jaguars went on the road to take on the Missouri State Bears, with both teams looking to score a big win as they inch closer to conference play.
It was the tale of two halves for both teams, as the Jaguars were all over the Bears in the opening half. But, the roles reversed in the second half, and the Bears launched a ferocious comeback in front of their home crowd.
After a road win over Oklahoma State in their last outing, Missouri State continued their turnaround by overcoming a 9-point deficit at half-time to knock off the Jaguars 88-74.
To open the game, the Jaguars were silent from the field for over two minutes, thus allowing the Bears to jump out to a quick 4-0 lead. At the 17:49 mark, Jordan Pickett got the Jaguars on the board with a three pointer, and that ignited a 21-6 run that put IUPUI in front by 11 just before the halfway point of the opening 20 minutes.
Despite the deficit, the Bears would continue to chip away, running their offense through forward Camyn Boone. Boone would start to heat up from the floor, but the Jaguars would seemingly find an answer on offense to keep separation between themselves and Missouri State.
With just seconds before the final buzzer, Jarred Dixon hit a three-pointer to bring the Bears within 6, and looked to have given Missouri State a big momentum boost heading into the break. That was before Darell Combs hit a buzzer-beating three-pointer of his own for the Jaguars, sending IUPUI into the break with a 42-33 lead and the momentum squarely in their corner.
In the second half, the Bears came out with a vengeance as they looked to cut into the Jaguars’ half-time lead. Dorrian Williams spearheaded a 20-6 run for the Bears to open the half, scoring 11 points on his own to erase the 9-point deficit and give Missouri State a 5-point lead of their own.
Both teams would trade baskets, and the lead, over the next 4-plus minutes, At the 7:36 mark of the second half, Boone would hit a pair of free throws to give the Bears a 64-62 lead, and they would keep the lead from then on out. IUPUI would get as close as 4, but wouldn’t threaten the Bears as the game clock ticked down to the final seconds.
Thanks to some timely free throw shooting, the Missouri State Bears added a few extra points on for good measure, and came away with the 88-74 victory over the IUPUI Jaguars, thanks to a 55-point second-half performance.
For the visiting IUPUI Jaguars, they were unable to capitalize on their strong first half performance, faltering in the second half. Darell Combs scored a team-high 20 points in the loss, while forward Matt O’Leary added in 16 points, 8 rebounds, and 4 assists of his own.
Guard Marcellus Barksdale was held to just 6 points in 23 minutes of floor time.
Behind a big second-half performance, the Missouri State Bears were able to keep their run of strong play going and keep the momentum going. Dorrian Williams, who was the star of the Bears’ 20-6 run in the second half, finished the game with 19 points, 5 assists, 4 rebounds, and 3 steals.
Overall, the Bears had four players reach double-figures in scoring, including Camyn Boone who had a game-high 24 points to go along with 10 rebounds, and Dequon Miller who chipped in with 15 points and 5 assists of his own.
Keeping up with the trend of the season, the IUPUI Jaguars (3-8) played some strong basketball to open the contest, but were unable to finish down the stretch and play a complete 40-minutes. They will look for a bounce-back performance next time out, which is Saturday afternoon on the road against the Creighton Bluejays.
Thursday marked three-straight strong performances for the Missouri State Bears (3-5) as they continue their turnaround in 2015-16. They have now put together two straight wins over quality opponents, in Oklahoma State and IUPUI. The Bears will look to make it three-straight wins when they play host to the Tulsa Golden Hurricane on Sunday.