Mitchell scores 16 as Missouri St. breezes past Evansville 69-46
ST. LOUIS (AP)—Deven Mitchell scored 16 points and Drew Richards had a career-high 14 rebounds Thursday night to lead Missouri State past Evansville 69-46 in the opening round of the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament.
Seventh-seeded Missouri State (17-15) will face second-seeded Illinois State (22-8) in a quarterfinal game at 6 p.m. Friday.
The Bears have won four in a row and five of their last six. Tenth-seeded Evansville (9-21) finishes with a losing record for the eighth season in a row, a school record.
Kavon Lacey led Evansville with 13 points.
Dex Manswell and Shane Laurie had 10 points each for the Bears.
Missouri State, coming off back-to-back 22-win seasons, used a 14-0 run in the first half to take control 26-11. Evansville battled back with consecutive 3-pointers from Shy Ely and Darin Granger, but Chris Cooks halted the rally with a 3-pointer for Missouri State.
The Bears, who led 35-24 at half, scored the first 13 points of the second half to put the game away early. Evansville missed its first 11 shots in the second half and went 7:35 without scoring.
Mitchell sank his first four shots from the field and scored 10 of his team’s first 22 points. He also pulled down seven rebounds.
Missouri State beat Evansville 76-38 during a regular-season meeting Feb. 16 in Springfield.
The Bears, who went 8-10 in league play, received their lowest seed since 2001, when they also were seeded seventh.
Evansville, under first-year coach and former Purple Aces standout Marty Simmons, lost five of its final six games.