Fifth-place MSU looks to keep foothold in MVC's upper division with road test in Des Moines
Jan. 4, 2013
Jan. 4, 2013 | MSU Game Notes (PDF)
Missouri State Bears (3-11, 1-1) at Drake (6-7, 0-2)
The Last Meeting
February 4, 2012
Des Moines, Iowa
Jan. 5, 2013, Knapp Center (7,152), Des Moines, Iowa, 7:05 p.m.
The Ten Count
- In this week’s NCAA rankings, the Bears rank 13th in turnovers per game (10.9), 26th in turnover margin (+3.8) and 44th in 3-point FG percentage defense (.290). On Wednesday, Evansville was 2-for-15 (.133) from 3-point range.
- Nathan Scheer (Jr., G/F, Washington, Mo.) is averaging 12.5 points per game in Valley play and is coming off back-to-back double-figure scoring efforts for the first time in his carer. He is also the MVC Scholar-Athlete of the Week.
- The Bears are 3-2 when out-rebounding their opponents and 0-9 when they get beat on the glass.
- The Bears have won five in a row in the series with the Bulldogs and are 14-8 all-time in Des Moines.
- No MSU opposing team has made more than eight 3-pointers in a game this season (Drake averages 8.9).
- Missouri State has committed fewer turnovers than 11 of its 14 opponents this season.
- Anthony Downing (Sr., Atchison, Kan.) led the Bears in points (17), rebounds (9) and assists (5) at Evansville. He has led MSU in scoring each of its last 3 ball games.
- The Bears will face four of the MVC’s five preseason all-conference players in consecutive games, including Drake’s Ben Simons (14.5 ppg, 34 3-pointers) Evansville’s Colt Ryan had 13 points against MSU on Wednesday.
- Second-year MSU head coach Paul Lusk (19-27) is gunning for his 20th victory at Missouri State.
- After tallying just 9 total blocks in their first 12 games, the Bears rejected 6 shots at Evansville on Wednesday.
Setting the Stage
After a 62-59 overtime loss at Evansville on Wednesday, the Bears wrap a two-game Missouri Valley Conference road swing on Saturday night (7:05 p.m.) when they take on the Drake Bulldogs at the Knapp Center (7,152) in Des Moines.
The steadily-improving Missouri State squad is in search of its first road victory of the season and will try to keep a five-game winning streak against the Bulldogs alive while improving on its current position of fifth place in the MVC standings.
Anthony Downing (Sr., G, Atchison, Kan.) helped the Bears fight to the finish at Evansville on Jan. 2, posting team-highs 17 points, 9 rebounds and 5 assists, while converting two go-ahead field goals and the game-tying shot with 4.4 seconds left in regulation. Nathan Scheer (Jr., G/F, Washington, Mo.) posted 10 points, snagged 5 caroms and knocked down a pair of 3-pointers against the Purple Aces in the narrow loss.
Head Coach Paul Lusk
Paul Lusk (Southern Illinois, 1995) is 19-27 (.413) in his second season at MSU and 21-50 (.296) in his third season overall as a head coach. He is 10-10 in the MVC (5-5 at home, 5-5 on the road), 9-16 in non-conference play (6-6 at JQH Arena, 3-6 away and 0-5 at neutral sites). At MSU, he is 11-11 in home games, 8-11 on the road, and 0-5 at neutral sites. He is 2-0 against Drake.
The 41-year-old Lusk took the reins as MSU’s 17th head coach on April 1, 2011. He came to Springfield after seven seasons at Purdue (2004-11), including his last three as associate head coach there. Now in his 15th season in the coaching profession, Lusk has previous assistant coaching stops at Southwestern Illinois (1996-97), Missouri Southern (1999-2002) and Southern Illinois (2003-04) in addition to a one-year head coaching stint at (Div. III) Dubuque (2002-03). Lusk has played or coached in 10 NCAA Tournaments.
He returns five lettermen and six squad members from a 16-16 club that tied for third place in the Missouri Valley standings a year ago. His Bears were picked sixth in last year’s preseason MVC poll, but finished three spots higher, earning him CollegeSportsMadness.com MVC Coach of the Year.
Missouri State leads the all-time series against Drake, 35-10, with the Bears prevailing in five straight meetings and seven of the last nine.
Last season, the Bears swept the season series with the Bulldogs for the second year in a row, including a 57-39 win at the Knapp Center on Feb. 4, 2012. The Bears owned a 36-27 rebounding advantage and got 17 points from All-MVC forward Kyle Weems to go with 12 from Valley All-Newcomer pick Anthony Downing to seal the road victory.
MSU is 14-8 all-time in Des Moines and 13-7 at the Knapp Center. The Bears are also 1-1 at neutral sites and 20-1 at home (4-0 at JQH Arena) against Drake. The teams first met in 1986.
Fifth-year head coach Mark Phelps (Old Dominion, 1986) is 68-76 at Drake and overall. He has four starters and five lettermen returning from an 18-16 club, including All-MVC performer Ben Simons (Sr., F, Cadillac, Mich.).
The Bulldogs are 0-2 in league play so far after dropping a 67-57 decision at Bradley (Dec. 29) and falling 75-63 to Wichita State (Jan. 2) at home. Drake is 4-2 at the Knapp Center this season (2,899 attendance average) and boasts two double-figure scorers in Simons (14.5 ppg, 34 3-pointers) and Seth VanDeest (Jr., C, Bettendorf, Iowa) who averages 11.3 points and 4.7 rebounds.