THE 2010 CIT

Click on the team names for the recap. Click on the score for the box score.

Missouri State beats Pacific to win 2010 CIT

SPRINGFIELD (MO) -- Missouri State (24-12) had five players in double figures and shot 57-percent from the field to turn back Pacific 78-65 in the championship game of the Postseason Tournament here Tuesday.

The Bears got a team-high 16 points from Caleb Patterson who came off the bench to score 11 in the second half and finished 7-for-10 from the field with 5 rebounds and a pair of blocked shots. Kyle Weems scored 14, while Nafis Ricks added 13 for MSU.

After Pacific led 35-29 at the half, Patterson hit a pair of critical jumpers early in the second half - both with the Tigers up by four points - to keep the Bears close. With 11:06 to play in the game, Joe Ford's basket put Pacific up 50-44. However, the Bears reeled off 11 unanswered points over the next two minutes, capped by a steal and dunk by Jermaine Mallett with 9:02 to go to put Missouri State on top 55-50.

Cuonzo Martin's Bears would never trail again, and Missouri State increased its advantage to double figures on a layup by Patterson with 3:33 on the clock. The 67-56 lead capped a 23-6 run, and the crowd of 6,205 at JQH Arena helped the Bears close out the game with 7-for-8 free throws in the final two minutes to seal the win.

The victory was the 19th at JQH Arena this season for the Bears, which tied Kansas for the national lead in home-court wins. The Bears' 24th victory of the year overall matched the second-most in a season by a Missouri State club and marked the first time the program has ended the season with a win since 1978-79.

The Bears landed three players on the CIT All-Tournament team, including most-valuable player Will Creekmore who was 3-for-3 from the field and a perfect 4-for-4 at the line en route to 10-point night. Adam Leonard, who also had 10 points against Pacific, joined Creekmore and Weems on the all-tourney team.

Pacific (23-12) was helped by Ford's 16 points, while Sam Willard posted 10 points and a game-high 10 rebounds. Both were rewarded with all-tournament honors along with Appalachian State's Donald Sims and Fairfield's Anthony Johnson.

Missouri State outrebounded Pacific by a 31-24 margin in the game, giving them the rebounding advantage for the 29th time this season and 10th game in a row. The Bears were 27-for-47 from the field and 19-for-26 (.731) at the line with five three-pointers.

Pacific finished 22-for-51 (.431) from the field, but struggled at the line in the second half with a 7-for-13 (.538) performance in the second period and 13-for-20 line overall. Pacific knocked down eight three-pointers in the game, including three by Demetrece Young who had a game-high 17 points as one of four Tigers in double figures.

The CIT national title brought to a close a milestone season for Martin's Bears who were 11-20 a year ago. The team's +10.5 turnaround matched the fifth-best improvement in the nation, according to the NCAA.

The Bears will depart with just one senior, Justin Fuehrmeyer, who had 2 points and 2 assists in his final appearance at JQH Arena.

In the first half, the Bears jumped out to a 10-4 lead just over four minutes into the game on a Mallett three-pointer. After a Weems layup at the 14:28 mark, Pacific reeled off 13 of the game's next 15 points to build a 20-14 advantage over the next four minutes.

Missouri State climbed back ahead with just under eight minutes to play in the half as it capitalized on a steal and layup by Nafis Ricks, a short jumper by Mallett and a traditional three-point play by Ricks to lead 24-22.

The Tigers ended the half on a 13-5 run that included a clutch three-pointer by Pat Eveland at the 1:01 mark to make it a six-point game at the break.

Will Creekmore (Missouri State)
Joe Ford (Pacific)
Anthony Johnson (Fairfield)
Adam Leonard (Missouri State)
Donald Sims (Appalachian State)
Kyle Weems (Missouri State)
Sam Willard (Pacific).

CIT MVP: Will Creekmore (Missouri State)

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