ST. LOUIS — Missouri State's youth was evident in how the Bears got manhandled on the boards by the Wichita State Shockers.
The Shockers pulled down 43 rebounds, including 20 offensive boards that led to 22 second-chance points, in beating the Bears 69-59 Friday in the quarterfinals of the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament.
The Bears had only 24 rebounds. They had six offensive boards that led to four second-chance points.
"We did everything we needed to do, we just simply couldn't keep them off the glass," said Missouri State coach Paul Lusk, a Wesclin High School graduate. "Their bodies are just different than our bodies. Some of it's youth. I think our guys understand how important the weight room is going to be."
The Shockers also displayed their superior depth. They got 36 points from their bench compared to six points from the bench for the Bears.
Freshman guard Ron Baker returned after a 21-game absence because of a stress fracture in his foot to score 15 points for the Shockers.
"We're deeper because we added Ron Baker back to fold," Wichita State coach Gregg Marshall said. "He was a big key for us tonight. He drains 3s. He's one of our better defenders.
"People now see what Ron Baker is capable of doing. He's a really good player, and he does everything fairly well, if not really well."
Baker hit three 3-pointers, all in the second half.
"Ron Baker is on the all-freshman team if he doesn't get hurt this year," Lusk said. "He is an absolute difference-maker. When he came in, it really was a big boost for them."
The second-seeded Shockers (25-7) will play sixth-seeded Illinois State (17-14) at 4 p.m. Saturday in a tournament semifinal.
Missouri State ended its season with a 11-22 record, marking the most losses in a season for the school.
The Bears have six freshmen, including Marcus Marshall, who poured in 25 points, the most for a freshman in the MVC Tourney since Creighton's Kyle Korver scored 25 against Bradley in 2000.
Marcus Marshall was more interested in talking about how senior Anthony Downing and junior Keith Pickens, who is giving up basketball for medical reasons, went out the right way rather than commenting on his point total.
"We knew he was a guy who could have an impact right away," Lusk said of Marcus Marshall. "What you like about him as a young man is where his mind and his heart is. He's more concerned about those guys going out than breaking any record.
"It's great moving forward because he's a piece. We have to continue to add pieces. He has a very mature pulse to him. He doesn't get rattled, and he is just going to continue to get better because he likes to play and he has toughness."
The score was tied at 46-46 after a 3-pointer by Marcus Marshall with 7:55 left in the second half.
The Shockers had five different players score during a 12-1 run that put them up 58-47 with 5:19 to go.
The Bears crept within six points after a 3-pointer by Marcus Marshall with 1:36 remaining.
Baker took a 3-pointer from the baseline that scraped the bottom of the rim. Jake White grabbed the loose ball before it went out of bounds and tossed it back to Malcolm Armstead for a layup with 59 seconds to go.
The shot clock went off right as Armstead was shooting, but after reviewing video of the play, the officials said it was a timing error because the shot clock wasn't reset, and the basket counted.
The basket came off another offensive rebound, and it helped seal the Bears' fate.
"That's Wichita, their best offense sometimes is a missed shot," Lusk said. "That certainly was true today with 20 offensive rebounds."
The Shockers were led by Carl Hall with 18 points and 12 rebounds.
The Bears also got 12 points from Downing and 11 from Pickens.
Contact reporter Steve Korte at email@example.com or 239-2522.