Missouri State T-shirts in high demand

Missouri State fans have been flooding into the school's bookstore looking for championship gear after the team captured its first Missouri Valley Conference regular-season title with a win Saturday against Wichita State.

It's a good thing the store took precautionary measures by ordering the championship T-shirts before the game, according to the Springfield News-Leader.

Bookstore officials ordered 24 dozen T-shirts commemorating the Bears' basketball victory on Saturday that clinched the Missouri Valley Conference regular-season championship -- before the tip-off of the game.

The Bears defeated Wichita State 69-64, and the 288 shirts -- $20 each, tax included -- sold out in 10 minutes, said Mark Brixey, director of the MSU bookstore.

"We took the risk, but it worked," said Brixey.


Had the Bears lost the Saturday game, the bookstore would have donated the pre-ordered championship T-shirts to a charity that sends the goods overseas, Brixey said.

So as coach Cuonzo Martin and his players prepare for the conference tournament, it might have been a struggle for fans to load up on the same shirts the team wore after winning the title and celebrated in.

Players, wearing gray "Missouri Valley Conference Champion" T-shirts, jumped onto the press table and waved to the cheering fans.

"Yeah, baby!" forward Kyle Weems shouted to no one in particular.

The Bears had returned their top seven scorers entering the season, and Weems led the way again in as the team tried to get back to the postseason and maybe even the NCAA tournament.

It went down to the wire, with the Missouri State-Wichita State game marking the first time the league had two teams tied for first play each other on the last day of the regular season since 1985.

But after an emotional win for Martin and his team, the campus in March is alive with energy.