And Cuonzo Martin's crew won the thing and the next year, that same team won the Valley's regular season title.
Wednesday night Paul Lusk's young bears are back in the CIT, hoping for a similar springboard to next season.
The Bears squared off with the Ohio Valley Conference's Murray State Racers.
And the Racers off to a quick start, Jarvis Williams with a baby hook, it's 10-1 Murray State.
Then Cameron Payne with the behind the back dribble and the jumper, 16-3 Racers start.
And Murray State with the defense, Williams with the big rejection, into the front row.
Missouri State would rally, Dorrian Williams with the three from the corner.
Then the sophomore slashes to the rack and the hoop, and Missouri State has a 19-18 lead.
Ron Mvouika with the ally opp to Chrisitian Kirk for the dunk it's 31-31.
Second half and C.J. Ford drives, feeds Jonathan Fairell it's 57-57.
Bears senior Jarmar Gulley trying to keep Missouri State in front, this three makes it 61-56 Bears.
But Murray State would not go away, this is Cameron Payne to the hole, Racers in front 64-63, and Murray State wins 66-63 ending the Bears season.
Afterwards Paul Lusk reflected on the year.
"I'm not satisfied. You have to continue to get better. We want to play in the NCAA tournament," said Paul Lusk. "But I told the seniors we won 11 games last year and won 20 this year. We had an opportunity to win a few more arguably with one of our good players out. Pleased."
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