K.J. Riley had 11 points for the Purple Aces (12-6, 2-3 Missouri Valley Conference) and Dainiu Chatkevicius had 10 points and 11 rebounds.
Alize Johnson led the Bears (13-5, 3-2) with 16 points and 14 rebounds and Jarrid Rhodes and Reggie Scurry had 10 points each.
Evansville scored the first six points and led wire-to-wire. The Purple Aces led by as many as 11 points in the first half before settling for a 31-24 advantage at the break. Ronnie Rousseau III scored all nine of his points in less than five minutes as part of a 13-6 burst that helped the Bears cut an 11-point deficit down to four with 8 1/2 minutes to go.
Missouri State’s last 3 baskets were 3-pointers, Johnson making it a three-point game with 1:12 to go. But the Bears missed their last five shots and the Purple Aces were 6 of 8 from the line in the last minute, wrapping up a 14 of 20 second half while the Bears were just 2 of 2.
The series is now tied at 34, dating to 1959 when Evansville beat MSU in the championship game of the NCAA Division II Tournament.
— Associated Press —