The Missouri State Bears survived a big scare from the Murray State Racers, winning 71-69 Tuesday night at JQH Arena.
Keandre Cook’s long three pointer with 27 seconds left in regulation was the game winner.
Josh Hall added a free throw with eight seconds left, then Cook went to the line and drained two free throws in the final three seconds to secure the win.
The contest featured eight lead changes and ten ties.
The Bears had to settle for a three-point lead at the half, 25-22.
MSU made it an eight point game, 38-30, when Josh Hall got a put-back with 13:46 left in regulation.
But Murray State took its last lead of the night when Jaiveon Eaves hit a jumper at the 11:20 mark to put his team up 42-40.
Three minutes later, Cook hit a shot, was fouled, and made the free throw to pull his team within one, 46-45.
The Bears took the lead again on freshman Ford Cooper, Junior’s three pointer at the 6:52 mark, 52-51.
The Racers came back to grab the lead twice in the final 1:19 of regulation, but Cook’s trey with 27 seconds on the clock gave Missouri State a 68-66 lead.
Tulio Da Silva picked up a double-double, scoring 16 points to lead the Bears (4-5), adding 11 rebounds.
Cook scored 15 and Gaige Prim, back in action after a one game absence with a recurring injury, put in ten points.
Murray State (4-4) was led by Tevin Brown’s 19 points.
Bears Coach Dana Ford talked to the media after the game, stressing the need for his veteran players to take charge and lead the team.
The Bears continue their three game homestand with a 7:00 p.m. game on Friday against Mississippi State at JQH Arena.
Missouri State committed nine turnovers in the first half, but limited itself to five in the second frame.
Free throw shooting proved to be a glaring difference in the contest, with the Bears knocking down 14 of 17 attempts (82%) to the Racers’ 20 of 29 attempts (69%).
Ford improves to 2-4 all time against Murray State, a team he says is the most Valley-like of any squad the Bears have played this season.
Tuesday’s announced attendance at JQH Arena was 3,817.