The Missouri State men’s basketball team defeated Washington University (St. Louis) 76-59 in its only exhibition game.
MSU struggled to get the offense started, allowing visiting Washington to go on a 6-2 lead early on.
After a media timeout, MSU went on an 8-2 run, led by senior Tulio Da Silva’s four points. The 10-8 lead was one they didn’t give up for the remainder of the game.
Redshirt junior Josh Hall was all over the court in the first half, recording five points and three rebounds. This was Hall’s debut as a Bear since he sat out last season due to NCAA transfer rules.
Another new Bear, senior Lamont West, made meaningful plays, leading MSU in scoring at halftime with nine points while also grabbing nine boards.
Missouri State played loose defense, allowing Washington to get good looks and a few wide-open shots. WashU went on a 13-3 run to put the game within one point, the closest they got to taking the lead back all night.
“The reason the game was so close was because we decided to go jack up outside shots,” head coach Dana Ford said. “That was just an easy fix at halftime.”
After going into the locker room with a 36-34 lead, MSU found Da Silva down low for 10 early points to start the second half. He finished with 16 in that half, 20 on the night.
Redshirt junior Tyrik Dixon handled the ball well in the second half with four assists, slinging the ball quickly across the court. Dixon attacked the basket, going 5-for-6 at the line. The guard teetered on the line of a triple-double, also posting seven rebounds and seven assists.
Missouri State’s defense improved in the second half, holding WashU to just three outside shots. This allowed the offense to flourish, led by senior Keandre Cook and Da Silva.
Although it was just an exhibition game, Ford showed the weapons at his disposal.
Ford said it was a good experience for his team to play WashU, who poses a similar style to teams in the Missouri Valley Conference.
The Bears are back at JQH Arena on Tuesday, Nov. 5, at 7 p.m. to take on Little Rock.