Chris Mitchell, Assistant Athletic Director for Communications
SPRINGFIELD – The Washington University in St. Louis men’s basketball team kept it close in the first half, but the height of Missouri State gave the visiting Bears fits in the second half in a 76-59 loss in exhibition play Wednesday at JQH Arena in Springfield, Mo.
Trailing by two at halftime (36-34), Missouri State pounded the ball inside in the second half scoring 30 of its 40 points in the paint. The home team outscored WashU 18-3 in second-chance points for the game.
Sophomore forward Justin Hardy led the Bears with 17 points and seven rebounds, while junior guard Jack Nolan had 12 points on four three-pointers. WashU shot 38.7 percent (24-of-62) from the field and hit 8-of-31 from three-point range. The Bears struggled from the foul line hitting just 3-of-10.
Senior guard Jonathan Arenas had a game-high 11 rebounds.
WashU took the early 6-2 lead early in the contest behind two buckets from Hardy. Missouri State, who was picked first in the Missouri Valley Conference (MVC) Preseason Poll, got the lead up to nine (19-10) after an 11-4 run.
WashU, who is ranked No. 7 in the D3hoops.com Top-25 Poll, started 5-of-17 from the field and just 0-for-7 from three-point range.
Nolan and senior guard Matt Nester connected back-to-back threes to highlight an 8-0 run to trim the lead to 25-22. Junior Payden Webb banked in a corner three to trim lead to one.
Back-to-back threes by Nolan got the lead once again down to one, but Missouri State took the 36-34 lead to half. WashU shot 41.2 percent (14-34) from the field in the first half, and hit five of its last eight from three. Nolan and Hardy had nine points each.
Missouri State took advantage of its size to break open the game early in the second half with a 10-2 run to take a 52-41 lead. Mo State scored 16 of the first 18 points of the second half in the paint.
Webb hit a wing three to get the lead down to eight 54-46 and that would be as close as WashU would get.
Tulio Da Silva led all scorers with 20 points and nine boards, while Lamont West (11) and Keandre Cook (10) also scored in doubles figures. Missouri State shot 41.7 percent (30-72) from the field and outrebounded WashU 48-35.
WashU begins its 105th season of college basketball by traveling to Illinois College in its 2019-20 season opener on Sunday, Nov. 10. Tip-off is set for 3 p.m. in Jacksonville, Ill.
BEAR NOTEBOOK: WashU and Missouri State have split four all-time regular-season meetings, and the two teams met for the first time since Feb. 12, 1963.