Evansville survives Indiana State rally to stay alive in MVC (Mar 02, 2017)

Evansville's Christian Benzon (2) shoots as Indiana State's Niels Bunschoten and T.J. Bell, left, defend during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in the Missouri Valley Conference tournament Thursday, March 2, 2017, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

ST. LOUIS (AP) Jaylon Brown scored 27 points and Duane Gibson added 20 as Evansville jumped out early and then held on to defeat Indiana State 83-72 in the opener of the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament on Thursday night.

Brenton Scott caught fire in the second half, scoring 12 of his 17 points in an eight-minute run down the stretch and the Sycamores whittled Evansville’s 26-point lead down to 79-72 on a TJ Bell slam dunk. The dunk, with 24 seconds left, came on Indiana State’s third try for a basket after two offensive rebounds off of missed treys kept the possession alive.

When the Sycamores fouled, Brown and Gibson each sank a pair of free throws in the last 19 seconds. The output was Brown’s fifth-straight 20-point game. Eighth-seeded Evansville (16-16) advances to meet top seed Illinois State (25-5) on Friday.

Scott hit four of No. 9 seed Indiana State’s (11-20) nine 3s, and Bell finished with 15 points.