Missouri State earned its fourth straight win Tuesday, holding off a late Colorado State comeback for a 77-67 victory at JQH Arena.
The matchup was part of the Missouri Valley/Mountain West Challenge.
Donning new “MO State” uniforms, the Bears looked sharp most of the night. Alize Johnson got in first-half foul trouble, but Reggie Scurry poured in all 12 points before halftime, tying his season-high. Jarred Dixon’s steal and layup followed by Scurry’s putback on the offensive glass gave the Bears a 25-9 lead. Mustafa Lawrence launched a deep three from the midcourt logo, helping cap off a solid first half for MSU, building a 42-26 lead.
Junior Ryan Kreklow caught fire in the second half, scoring and drawing fouls on back-to-back possessions, extending the lead to 18. The Columbia native led the Bears with 20 points, a new career-high.
Kreklow and Scurry starred in a huge night for the MSU bench, and the Bears needed it. The Rams held Johnson scoreless for just the second time in his Missouri State career, but the bench chipped in 46 points Tuesday.
Colorado State made a late run, but never within four points, and the Bears made 23 of 29 free throws to seal the 10-point win. Head Coach Paul Lusk praised his team’s defense, and downplayed any concerns about Johnson, who missed more than a month of practices before the season with a knee injury.
“He missed six weeks of practice that he needed,” Lusk said. “He’s still going to help us, and he’s going to have a great year. That’s going to work out. He’s happy we won. J.T. Miller is under the weather, but it’s a good sign with those two guys not having their best night, for us to find a way.”
Missouri State (6-2) takes its four-game win streak to the Dakotas, for a game Saturday at South Dakota State and a Monday night tip-off at North Dakota State.