by Rick Kindhart
Led by Tulio Da Silva’s 20 points and 9 rebounds, Missouri State topped visiting Washington University, 76-59, here Wednesday in the Bears’ only preseason exhibition contest of the new season.
Da Silva led a cast of four MSU players in double figures with Lamont West adding 11 points while Josh Hall and Keandre Cook added 10 points apiece.
The Bears outrebounded the visitors from St. Louis by a 48-35 margin and held them to 36 percent shooting in the second half.
Missouri State finished 30-of-72 (.417) from the field, 5-of-21 (.238) from long distance and an impressive 11-of-12 (.917) at the stripe with just 11 turnovers.
The Bears opened up their first double-figure lead with just under 11 minutes left in the opening stanza with a free throw by Tyrik Dixon. Moments later, Cook banked one off the glass to give MSU a 22-12 advantage at the midway point.
Washington stretched the Missouri State defense later in the first half, finding the mark with five 3-pointers in the last seven minutes of the period to get within one on two occasions and within 36-34 at the intermission.
But the second half belonged to coach Dana Ford’s squad. Da Silva erupted for 10 points in the first five-and-a-half minutes of the final period with buckets from Kabir Mohammed and Isiaih Mosley extending the home side’s lead to 52-41 at the 13:14 mark.
Hall and Ja’Monta Black later dropped in 3-pointers to sandwich a dunk-back by Da Silva and push Missouri State ahead 66-49 with 8:20 to go. Late in the game, a driving dunk by Darian Scott gave MSU a 20-point lead for the first time, 76-55, at the 1:14 mark.
Justin Hardy led the visiting squad with 17 points, while Jack Nolan scored 12 points on four treys, and Jonathan Arenas snagged 11 boards.
Missouri State’s cast of newcomers accounted for 40 points, while Dixon notched 9 points, 7 assists, 7 rebounds and 3 steals from the point to help lead the home side.