JONESBORO, Ark. (11-27-2009) — Arkansas State guard Ebonie Jefferson scored a career-high 27 points, but the Missouri State Bears (3-1) countered with a career-high 35 points, 17 rebounds and five steals from sophomore guard Casey Garrison to defeat the Red Wolves 73-65 Friday night at the ASU Convocation Center.
Jefferson hit 8-of-16 shots from the field and 11-of-12 from the free throw line before fouling out with 2:59 remaining in the game. With Arkansas State (2-5) trailing by six at 64-58, Jefferson drove to the basket and was whistled for the charging foul to end the night for the senior from Laurel, Mississippi.
Missouri State answered with a jumper from Garrison to take a 66-58 lead with 2:47 to play. Arkansas State closed within five on a three-pointer from sophomore guard NeNe Hurst with 1:11 remaining that cut the Lady Bear lead to 70-65, but the Red Wolves were unable to score again and Missouri State hit three-of-four from the free throw line in the waning seconds to set the final score at 73-65.
"Ebonie was great," said ASU head coach Brian Boyer. "When she shoots 50 percent from the floor, you know she is getting great looks and getting to the basket. It's a bonus when she is knocking down free throws because she is going to get to the line because of how aggressive she is. Going 11-of-12 from the line was huge for her and for us."
Missouri State took advantage of 11 ASU turnovers in the first eight minutes of the game to take a 22-9 lead before Arkansas State battled back with a 21-6 run to go up 30-28 with 5:16 remaining in the first half. Missouri State answered with an 11-2 run to give the Lady Bears a 39-32 advantage at the break.
"Missouri State came out and hit us hard early," said Boyer. "I thought our energy was there. Maybe almost too much because we came out and had too many turnovers that helped them build the lead. In the second half, we did a much better job of taking care of the basketball. But our rebounding went away and we gave up too many second opportunities."
The Lady Bears grabbed 10 offensive rebounds in the second half to help Missouri State finish with a 40-35 advantage on the boards, with Garrison pulling down 10 offensive rebounds on the night.
Senior forward Lyndsay Schlup led ASU on the boards with 13 rebounds. Arkansas State also got a double-digit scoring effort from Hurst, who finished with 10 points.
Next up for Arkansas State is a road trip to St. Louis where the Red Wolves will take on the Billikens Monday, Nov. 30 at 7:00 p.m.