Deontae Hawkins scored 19 points and put his team on top for good as Illinois State edged Missouri State 67-66 on Wednesday night.
Tony Wills and DJ Clayton added 12 points apiece for the Redbirds (22-5, 14-1 MVC) who remain tied with Wichita State for first in the Missouri Valley Conference.
Missouri State took a four-point intermission advantage to 45-37 early in the second half before a dunk and a 3-pointer by MiKyle McIntosh and a 3 by Hawkins helped put the Redbirds on top 47-45 with 11:38 to go. A flurry of six 3-pointers followed as the teams battled to a tie at 60 with 5:07 remaining. Hawkins hit a jumper and a layup back-to-back to break the Redbirds into a 67-62 lead with 1:46 left and they held on for the win.
Alize Johnson scored 17 points and Jarrid Rhodes 16 for the Bears (15-13, 6-9). Missouri State has lost four straight.
>>Northern Iowa Holds Off Bradley
Jeremy Morgan and Bennett Koch each scored 18 points and Northern Iowa held off fast-closing Bradley 64-61 on Wednesday night.
Northern Iowa led by 10 with five minutes left, but Bradley pulled within two after a dunk by Donte Thomas with 2:17 to go and despite Northern Iowa missing all three of its final shots, Koch sank 3 of 4 free throws to hold on for the win.
Jordan Ashton added 11 points for Northern Iowa (14-12, 9-6 Missouri Valley Conference) which avenged a January loss to Bradley, has won nine of its last 10 and is seeking to become the first MVC school since 1924-25 to start 0-5 in conference and finish above .500.
Bradley, which has lost three straight, trimmed its deficit to 61-59 on Thomas' dunk but committed turnovers on its next two possessions and the Braves managed only two Darrell Brown free throws in the last two-plus minutes. Bradley still had a chance, but a potential tying 3-pointer missed as time expired.
JoJo McGlaston led Bradley (9-19, 4-11) with 15 points and Nate Kennell added 13.