TULSA, Okla. – After falling behind by as many as 15 points in the second half, Missouri State battled back within three of homestanding Tulsa, only to fall 62-50 here Friday before 5,268 fans at the Reynolds Center.
Missouri State was led by Jermaine Mallett with 12 points and seven rebounds, while Adam Leonard scored 11, and Tulsa native Will Creekmore contributed 10 for MSU (2-2).
The Bears shot just 28.3 percent from the field in the game, but nearly erased a double-figure deficit late. A leaner by Kyle Weems at the 8:04 mark, and a hook by Creekmore a minute later made the score 45-42. The Bears seemed poised for the comeback and teetered between a five and three-point deficit for the next four minutes before a three-pointer by Justin Hurtt with three minutes left seemed to seal the game.
Hurt had a game-high 22 for Tulsa (2-1) with seven rebounds. Jordan Clarkson added 13 for the Golden Hurricane. Tulsa out-rebounded the Bears 39-36 and fired at a 42.3-percent clip.
In the first half, Missouri State shot a dismal 20.7 percent from the field to trail 28-17 at the intermission.
The Bears never led in the contest but played within two points of the Golden Hurricane most of the first period. Back-to-back buckets by Clarkson and Bryson Pope gave Tulsa its biggest lead of the early going, 15-11 at the 6:50 mark. Missouri State collected just one field goal the rest of the way, and Tulsa extended its advantage to 11 points on a three-pointer by Clarkson with 43 seconds left.
Caleb Patterson had six first-half points and finished with seven for the Bears who had just eight turnovers. MSU was 3-for-15 (.200) from beyond the arc and made 13-of-16 (.813) free throws.
The Bears will take on Pepperdine Monday at 7:05 p.m. at JQH Arena in the NIT Preseason Tip-Off consolation round before a match-up with Pacific at 7:05 p.m. Tuesday in the final game of that event.