SIU article photo

Senior forward Gaige Prim holds the ball in the post against Bradley on Feb. 13 at JQH Arena.

The Missouri State basketball team beat Southern Illinois 68-53 Wednesday night on the road behind a huge night from senior Gaige Prim.

The Bears started the game hot, shooting 90% from the field on the way to a 22-5 lead at the 12:28 mark.

The Salukis came back slightly with a 9-2 run, but the Bears clamped down and took a 36-22 lead into halftime.

Prim had a double-double before the four-minute mark of the first half and had 16 points and 12 rebounds at halftime.

The Bears never let up in the second half. The MSU lead went between 15 and 20 points for the rest of the game, and the Bears walked away with a 68-53 win.

Prim led the Bears with 29 points, 21 rebounds, six assists and four blocks.

“He was really good tonight,” head coach Dana Ford said in his postgame interview with Art Hains. “They obviously struggled to defend him down low. If he made one more free throw he would’ve had 30 (points) and 20 (rebounds).

Missouri State has now won six straight games, bouncing back from a 0-4 run at the end of January. Ford said the streak and the win point to the team’s development.

“I think that’s about as a mature of an effort as we’ve had since I’ve been the coach,” Ford said. “We came out and executed well on both ends.”

The Bears have a lengthy stretch off and play next at Evansville on Feb. 26 and 27.

Follow Stephen Terrill on Twitter, @stevethe2nd

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