What went down: The Missouri State University Bears took on the Valparaiso University Crusaders in Valparaiso’s first ever game in the Missouri Valley Conference (MVC) tournament. Missouri State won the game 83-79 to move on to the quarterfinals March 2.
How it happened: The Bears held a double digit lead for most of the game but Valparaiso clawed back into it in the last eight minutes. Valpo’s three point shooting kept it in the game; the Crusaders shot 52.6 percent from deep. Valpo was led by senior Tevonn Walker with 25 points but it wasn’t enough. Missouri State’s win came behind a monster effort from senior Alize Johnson. Johnson scored 22 points, pulled down 19 rebounds and dished six assists. Senior Jarrid Rhodes also added 20 points to the Bears’ effort.
Analysis: Johnson showed why he was named preseason MVC Player of the Year by forcing his will on the sharpshooting Crusaders. The Bears were able to hit key free throws down the stretch to put Valpo away; Missouri State shot 74.1 percent from the charity stripe for the game.
What’s Next? Missouri State will take on the No. 2 seed Southern Illinois University March 2 at 6 p.m. in the quarterfinals of Arch Madness.