Springfield, MO (Sports Network) - Anthony Downing poured in 26 points to lead the Missouri State Bears to a 78-72 decision over the Drake Bulldogs in Missouri Valley Conference action at JQH Arena.
Downing went 10-of-17 from the field and also dished out a team-high four assists for Missouri State (6-15, 4-5 MVC) as it snapped a four-game losing streak. Keith Pickens added 19 points to go along with seven rebounds, while Marcus Marshall tallied 12 points.
Ben Simons paced the Bulldogs (9-11, 3-6) with 19 points. Micah Mason and Seth VanDeest scored 17 and 12 points, respectively, while Jordan Clark posted nine points, 11 boards, and four assists.
The Bears took a 24-14 lead with 8:37 left in the opening half after Downing drained a jumper, but Drake scored the next 11 points to jump in front by a point. Missouri State answered and took a 29-28 lead into the intermission after it outscored the visitors, 14-4, in the paint before the break.
Drake came out of halftime with some intensity and built a 39-29 advantage by scoring 11 consecutive points to begin the second stanza. Later, Pickens made a pair of free throws before stripping Simons and converting the turnover into a dunk that capped off a 9-0 run and gave the Bears a 56-55 lead with 7:39 left to go. The Bears then led by no fewer than five points the final 3:25 of regulation. Missouri State's bench outscored the Bulldogs' reserves, 19-5, in the final 20 minutes to help the hosts jump back in front.
The Bears outscored Drake, 18-7, at the charity stripe and also, 34-24, in the paint in the game.