SPRINGFIELD – Led by 20 points from senior Gaige Prim, Missouri State turned back visiting William Jewell College, 73-64, here Wednesday in the season opener for the Bears.
Missouri State (1-0) shot 67 percent in the second half and 52.5 percent for the game while dishing out 19 assists. Prim finished 9-of-11 from the field for a game high, while distributing 8 assists and snagging 6 rebounds.
Ja’Monta Black added a career-high 16 points and 8 rebounds for Missouri State, while Isiaih Mosley added 13 points, and Jared Ridder posted 10 in his first start since 2018-19.
The visiting Cardinals were led Grant Stubbs’ 12 points and 11 rebounds, while Jackson Golightly added 10 points.
After leading by 13 at the break, MSU came out firing on all cylinders in the second half, building its lead to 19 less than four minutes into the second stanza. Black’s triple at the 16:03 mark made it a 48-29 contest, matching the Bears’ biggest lead of the night.
Jewell knocked down four treys over the next six minutes to climb back within 12 with 7:59 to go, but coach Dana Ford’s squad responded with a layup by Keaton Hervey and two quick baskets by Prim. Black’s layup with just over three minutes remaining pushed the Bears up 73-55.
The Cardinals ended the game on a 9-0 run, including five points by Jordan Jermain in that span, to make the final score closer.
The Bears out-rebounded their visitors, 41-29, with 10 second-chance points on 12 offensive caroms.
MSU was 31-of-59 (.525) from the field, 5-of-17 (.294) from long range and 6-of-11 (.545) from the foul line with 19 turnovers. The Bears also tallied 50 points in the paint.
William Jewell finished 23-of-58 (.397) overall while making 9-of-25 (.360) from long distance, including 7-of-14 in the second half. The Cardinals also were 9-of-15 (.600) at the stripe with 18 mishaps.
In the first half, the Bears overcame a slow shooting start to push ahead by double figures at the midway point. Black sparked MSU’s efforts with 11 points and 5 rebounds in the first 20 minutes, while Mosley’s steal and dunk with two minutes left in the stanza capped an 11-0 run by the home side.
Black’s layup at the 11-minute mark pushed the Bears up by double figures for the first time, 15-5, but Jewell rallied over the next four minutes, reeling off a 12-4 outburst to get within 19-17 of the lead just before MSU’s final push before the intermission.
Missouri State will entertain Northwestern State (1-5) on Saturday at 7 p.m., before hosting Little Rock (3-2) on Dec. 21, also at 7 p.m. Tickets for the next two home contests are available at //MissouriStateBears.com/tickets or at the Old Missouri Bank Box Office at JQH Arena, (417) 836-7678, during regular box office hours.