"You're as cold as ice."
Made famous by Foreigner back in 1977, that classic line was lived today by Missouri State in the second half of the Missouri Valley Conference championship game against the Indiana State Sycamores.
The Bears missed their first 13 shots of the latter period, failing to connect until 9:26 was left in the game on their way to a 18-59 overall shooting effort. Missouri State's ice-cold shooting helped the Sycamores erase a 31-28 halftime deficit and come away with a 60-56 victory.
Despite the fact that Indiana State has not been dancing since 1999 and had struggled against the top teams in the conference, they were my pick to win the conference tournament. It wasn't easy, as they had to fight their way back against Evansville (52-50) and Wichita State (61-54) and trailed at the half against the Bears.
Missouri State stayed in the game by forcing key turnovers and converting at the free-throw line, but it was just too much to overcome as their last chance to tie was given away on an errant pass in the final seconds.
The Sycamores were led by Aaron Carter's 15 points, while Jake Odum put in 12 points and four rebounds. Jermaine Mallet's 17 points and eight rebounds paced the Bears. MVC MVP Kyle Weems and Adam Leonard both put up 11 points, but on 3-16 and 4-13 shooting, respectively.
So, Indiana State is going dancing.
Missouri State, on the other hand, now must wait anxiously until next Sunday to find out if they'll join the Sycamores in the NCAA Tournament.
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