Evansville advances in MVC after surviving Indiana State rally

Jaylon Brown (3) led Evansville with 27 points.
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ST. LOUIS — 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 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 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.