Still, Mallett who finished with 17 points and 8 rebounds, made it interesting. His third trey of the afternoon with 4:33 to go made it a 54-53 game. Later, After Jake Odum made three of four free throws, Leonard knocked down a three from the left corner to make it 57-56 with 25.8 seconds to go.
The Bears defended well on the in-bound play, forcing ISU into a timeout, and then a loose ball on the floor that was eventually tied up by Missouri State. However, the possession arrow pointed to Indiana State, and the Sycamores kept possession with 20.4 to go.
After Odum was fouled with 19.2 to go and made one free throw, the Bears had a chance to tie with the final possession in a 58-56 game. MSU called timeout with 6.5 seconds left after not finding a seam in the ISU defense. The final play of the night found Mallett alone on the left baseline, but when he ripped to attack the basket for the potential game-tying shot, the ball slipped from his hands and out of bounds with 2.4 ticks to go.
Jake Kelly iced to free throws from there to give Indiana State a 60-56 win.
Aaron Carter led the Sycamores with 15 points, while Odum added 12. ISU shot 17-for-34 (.500) from the field and 5-of-12 (.417) from beyond the arc. ISU also shot 15 more free throws than the Bears, making 21-of-32 (.656).
Missouri State dominated the boards, 39-30, including 20 offensive boards that led to 21 second-chance points. The Bears finished 18-for-59 (.305) from the field, including just 6-of-31 (.194) in the second half. MSU was 8-for-27 from three-point range and took advantage of 12-of-17 (.706) free throw opportunities.
Mallett was joined by Weems and Leonard in double figures with 11 points apiece. The trio were all named to the all-tournament team along with Adum and Carter from Indiana State.
The Bears, who entered Championship Sunday, at No. 37 in the official NCAA RPI rankings after a remarkable regular-season run, will now play the waiting game in hopes of their first NCAA Tournament bid since 1999 when the field of 68 is announced next Sunday afternoon.
The Missouri St. Lady Bears start their conference tournament this coming week beginning with their quarterfinal game Friday at 8:30 p.m. The MSU women, the third seed, will take on number 6 seed Drake. Numeber 2 seed Illinois St., on the same side of the bracket, plays the winner of the Thursday night play-in game between Indiana St. and Southern Illinois. In the other half of the bracket top-seed Northern Iowa plays Friday at noon against the winner of the Thursday play-in between Bradley and Evansville. Creighton, the number 4 seed, meets number 5 Wichita St. in other match-up.
In the Big 12 men's tournament in Kansas City, Mizzou comes in as the number 6 seed, and they'll have to take part in one of the four first round games. The Tigers meet 11th seed Texas Tech Wednesday at 8:30 p.m. with the winner playing Thursday at 8:30 p.m. against number 3 seed Texas A&M.
In the SEC men's tournament in Atlanta, Arkansas, the number 4 seed out of the West division, takes on East number 5 Tennessee Thursday at 6:30 in the opening round. The winner advances on to play the top-seed from the East, Florida at 6:30 p.m. on Friday.
The Drury men and women both received bids to the NCAA Division II Midwest Regionals. The women are headed to the same location they played at last year-Houghton, Michigan-the home of Michigan Tech. As the number 5 seed, the Lady Panthers meet number 4 Grand Valley St. on Friday. The Missouri S&T Lady Miners also made it into that regional as a number 6 seed. They'll meet 3rd seeded Wisconsin-Parkside. The Drury men are headed to Louisville, Kentucky, the home of the men's top-seed Bellermine. There as the number 7 seed, they'll face fellow Great Lakes Valley opponent Southern Indiana, the number 2 seed who eliminated the Panther from the Valley tournament just this past weekend.