Puerto Vallarta, MX (Sports Network) - A jumper by Nick Russell with 10 seconds remaining proved to be the difference as the SMU Mustangs slipped by Missouri State, 62-61, in the third-place game of the Hoops for Hope Classic at the Puerto Vallarta Convention Center.
Russell finished the contest with a game-high 25 points on 9-of-15 shooting from the floor for the Mustangs (6-1) in the victory. The other double-digit scorer for SMU was Jalen Jones who tallied 17 points, to go along with his team-high seven rebounds as well.
The Bears (2-4) were paced by Anthony Downing who accounted for 20 points and a game-high eight rebounds, while Marcus Marshall chipped in 18 points as he made 4-of-9 shots behind the three-point line.
Missouri State opened with a 9-0 run and led for much of the first half, until the final minutes when SMU put together a 10-3 run of its own to move out to a 26-24 advantage at the break. The Bears ended up shooting just 33.3 percent from the floor over the first 20 minutes of action.
The lead for the Mustangs ballooned to nine points in the second half, but down the stretch it was a three-pointer by Marshall with 17 seconds remaining that put Missouri State ahead by a point, 61-60. After a timeout, Shawn Williams found Russell who knocked down what proved to be the game-winning basket.
SMU shot only 1-of-6 beyond the arc in the meeting, but the squad took advantage of 37 trips to the free-throw line, compared to just 10 for the Bears, outscoring Missouri State by a 23-7 margin at the charity stripe.