Jake Kelly hit two clinching free throws with 1.4 seconds to go for the third-seeded Sycamores (20-13), who shot 50 percent and earned their first NCAA tournament berth since 2001. Indiana State has won five in a row and knocked off second seed Wichita State in the semifinals.
Kyle Weems, the conference player of the year, was held to 11 points on 3-for-16 shooting and got his last basket came with 11:12 to go in the first half. Jerome Mallett had 17 points and eight rebounds but was the only starter shooting above 50 percent for Missouri State (25-8), which shot below 40 percent in all three tournament games.
Missouri State missed its first 13 shots of the second half, falling behind by as many as eight points.
The Bears won their first MVC title and have a 37 RPI but are long shots to make the NCAAs. The MVC is 12th in conference RPI and is likely to be a one-bid conference for the fourth straight season.
Jake Odum added 12 points for Indiana State and was 4 for 6 from the line in the final 1:26.