- Associated Press - Saturday, December 5, 2015

STILLWATER, Okla. (AP) - Missouri State has played some tough opponents so far this season and wasn’t able to pull out wins against teams such as Butler, Minnesota and Utah State.

On Saturday at Oklahoma State, it looked like the Bears might find a way to lose yet again, but Dequon Miller scored five of his 21 points in the final 20 seconds to help Missouri State avoid a massive second-half collapse and escape with a 64-63 victory.

Camyn Boone scored 17 points and added nine rebounds for Missouri State (2-5), which led 39-22 early in the second half.

“I’m most pleased for every one of our players in that locker room,” said Missouri State coach Paul Lusk. “In the second half, we knew it was going to get difficult. We were ready to break completely but we stuck with it and found a way to win the game.”

Jawun Evans and Jeff Newberry each scored 15 points to lead Oklahoma State (5-3), which lost its second straight. Evans, who scored all of his points in the second half, added five rebounds and seven assists.

The Cowboys rallied through the second half, using a 12-2 run to lead 49-48 on Newberry’s 10-foot jump shot with 6:14 to go.

The lead traded hands five times after that, with Oklahoma State going up 63-59 following two free throws from Newberry with 28 seconds remaining, before Miller’s late heroics.

Miller made it a one-point game with 17 seconds left after his free throw completed a 3-point play. Then, after Evans missed two free throws, Miller went the length of the court for a layup with 7.3 seconds left to put Missouri State ahead 64-63.

“I’m happy for him, because he’s really struggled to this point,” Lusk said of Miller, who came into the game averaging 8.7 points. “He’s a junior-college kid who’s making the transition. But we believe in him and happy that he did some good things out there.”

As for Evans’ failure in the clutch, Oklahoma State coach Travis Ford stood behind his freshman guard.

“He made some big shots in the second half, did a really good job,” Ford said. “He’ll get another opportunity at some point to make those, he’s a really good free-throw shooter. That’s life.”

Joe Burton, who played just four minutes, attempted a 3-pointer as time expired for Oklahoma State but it fell short.

“Their guys showed a lot of toughness, a lot of maturity, down the stretch,” Ford said. “It’s not easy to do, when you have a big lead and you lose the lead. They showed a lot of mental toughness.”

Trailing 32-20 at halftime, things got worse for Oklahoma State before they got better, as Missouri State opened the second half with a 7-2 run to build a 39-22 lead.

The Cowboys reeled off an 11-2 run to pull back to within 41-33 following Newberry’s fast-break dunk with 14:35 remaining. Oklahoma State continued to whittle away, making it 43-37 with 12:15 to go on Anthony Allen’s jump shot.

Missouri State led from the opening tip-off, building a 9-2 lead over the first seven minutes and holding to the Cowboys to 1-of-9 shooting. Oklahoma State put together a 9-2 run to pull to within 11-9, but Missouri State scored the next six points.

The Bears continued to increase their lead, closing on another 9-2 run to take a 32-20 lead into halftime - just the second time this season the Bears led at the break.

OSU missed its last seven shots in the first half, shooting 28.6 percent (8 of 28) from the floor.

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TIP INS

Missouri State won the rebounding battle 41-31, marking the sixth time in seven contests that they matched or led in that category. Of those, 10 were offensive boards, giving the Bears 84 on the season.

Oklahoma State, which entered the game ranking fifth in the nation in blocked shots and seventh in blocks per game (6.7), recorded just two blocks.

MASH UNIT

With senior leader Phil Forte III already out indefinitely with an elbow injury, Oklahoma State lost Newberry to a head injury after he collided with teammate Tyree Griffin with 14 seconds remaining. Newberry stayed down for several minutes and was bleeding from his nose before leaving the court under his own power. Afterwards, he was being evaluated for a head injury.

QUOTE OF THE NIGHT

“They played really well. Give them credit, their team played well, made big plays and showed a lot of grit.” - Oklahoma State coach Travis Ford, who repeated a variation of this phrase at least six different times, doing his best Marshawn Lynch impression, during his postgame press conference.

UP NEXT

Missouri State faces IUPUI at home next Thursday.

Oklahoma State goes up against Minnesota next Saturday in Sioux Falls, S.D.

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