SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (AP) - Jermaine Mallett scored a career-high 23 points, leading Missouri State to an 89-76 win over Murray State on Tuesday night in the opening round of the National Invitation Tournament.
Missouri State (26-8), the Missouri Valley Conference regular-season champion, held a double-digit lead through most of the first 10 minutes of the second half before Murray State (23-9) went on a 14-2 run to cut it to 68-66 with 6:09 left.
But the Racers, who led only once early in the game, were never able to go ahead. Mallett guided the third-seeded Bears to a 13-4 run and an 81-70 lead with 2:01 remaining.
Kyle Weems finished with 14 points for Missouri State and Will Creekmore added 13. Nafis Ricks and Nathan Scheer each scored 12.
Next up, the Bears will play the Miami-Florida Atlantic winner.
Ivan Aska led No. 6 seed Murray State with 16 points and Jewuan Long added 15. Isacc Miles had 13 and Isaiah Canaan 11.
The Racers were regular-season champions of the Ohio Valley Conference.