Bears Return to JQH Arena to Battle Illinois State on Tuesday
head coach Paul Lusk
head coach Paul Lusk

Jan. 7, 2013

Missouri State Bears (4-11, 2-1) vs. Illinois State (9-6, 0-3)

Jan. 8, 2013, JQH Arena (11,000), Springfield, Mo., 7:05 p.m.

Missouri State Game Notes (PDF)  | 



The Ten Count

  • Drew Wilson (Fr., Tulsa, Okla.) was 4-for-6 from the ield with 8 points at Drake. He also registered 17 minutes, his longest playing stint since Dec. 5 (at Tulsa), a game in which he tallied 11 points and 11 rebounds.
  • Nathan Scheer (Jr., Washington, Mo., 10.7 ppg in MVC) is 2 points from matching his sophomore scoring total (80).
  • The Bears are 4-2 when out-rebounding their opponents and 0-9 when getting beat on the glass.
  • MSU’s 12 non-conference opponents are a collective 106-66 (.616), as of Monday, including six foes that have eclipsed 10 wins (Philander Smith, San Diego State, South Carolina, SMU, Oklahoma State and Valparaiso) see p4.
  • No Bears’ opponent has made more than eight 3-pointers vs. MSU as a team (ISU averages 9.0 in Valley play).
  • In 3 league games, MSU has shot .476 from the field, 2nd best in league, and held its opponents to .409 (1st).
  • Anthony Downing (Sr., Atchison, Kan.) scored a game-high 24 points at Drake after leading MSU in points (17), rebounds (9) and assists (5) at Evansville. He has led MSU in scoring the last 4 games and averages 19.0 ppg in MVC.
  • Paul Lusk and ISU’s Dan Muller are among 62 DI coaches who also earned all-conference honors as a DI player.
  • Gavin Thurman (Fr., Wichita, Kan.) is averaging 8.0 points and is 5-for-10 from 3-point range in Valley play. 
  • Keith Pickens (Jr., St. Louis, Mo.) is shooting 12-for-16 (.750) in Valley games, which ranks 2nd in the league. He is also averaging 6.0 rebounds (t8th), 1.3 blocks (4th), 3.0 offensive rebounds (t2nd) in conference action.

Setting the Stage

  The resurgent Missouri State Bears return to JQH Arena on Tuesday night to take on the Illinois State Redbirds in a key Missouri Valley Conference contest.
 The third-place Bears are off to a 2-1 start in league play after Saturday’s impressive 77-65 road win against Drake. MSU got 24 points from Anthony Downing (Sr., G, Atchison, Kan.), including 4-of-5 from 3-point range, while Gavin Thurman (Fr., F, Wichita, Kan.) added 13 points, and Marcus Marshall (Fr., G, St. Paul, Minn.) scored 11. The Bears fired at a 51-percent clip from the field, their best road shooting effort since Feb. 8, 2012 at Southern Illinois (.512), which was also the club’s most-recent road victory.
 Illinois State is coming off a 70-60 home loss to Northern Iowa on Saturday, the Redbirds’ third straight loss. ISU was picked second in the Valley preseason poll and was off to a 9-3 start before conference play began. Coach Dan Muller’s squad is searching for its first road win since topping Dayton, 74-73, on Dec. 19 before 11,879 fans.

Head Coach Paul Lusk

Paul Lusk (Southern Illinois, 1995) is 20-27 (.426) in his second season at MSU and 22-50 (.306) in his third season overall as a head coach.  He is 11-10 in the MVC (5-5 at home, 6-5 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, 9-11 on the road, and 0-5 at neutral sites. He is 0-2 against Illinois State.
 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 MVC Coach of the Year.

The Series

  The Bears and Redbirds first met in the NCAA Division II national semifinals in Evansville, Ind., on March 16, 1967.
 The clubs have now met 59 times with the Redbirds owning a 34-25 advantage with two straight victories and eight wins in the last 11 meetings. Missouri State is 17-10 in Springfield (2-2 at JQH Arena) against ISU as well as 6-20 in Normal and 2-4 at neutral sites.
 The Redbirds swept the season series last season on the heels of an MSU sweep in 2010-11. In the most-recent meeting (Jan. 25, 2012 in Normal), the Bears lost their third overtime game of the season and let a nine-point lead in the second half slip away in a 76-69 setback. Jackie Carmichael had a career-high 26 points with 16 boards for ISU, while Kyle Weems scored 15, and Christian Kirk tallied 11 points and 9 rebounds for Missouri State.

The Opponent

   First-year Illinois State head coach Dan Muller (Illinois State, 1998) has four starters and nine lettermen back from a 21-14 club that made a run to the MVC Tournament finals last year and pushed deep into the NIT. After a 9-3 start, the Redbirds have dropped their first three conference games and enter Tuesday’s contest with a 2-2 record on the road.
 Leading ISU’s efforts is All-MVC senior Jackie Carmichael (6-9, F, Manhattan, Kan.) who is second in the league in scoring (17.4) and rebounding (8.5). He had game highs 19 points and 12 rebounds in ISU’s home loss to UNI on Saturday. Tyler Brown (6-4, Sr., G, Owensboro, Ky.) averages 16.3 points, 3.3 rebounds, has a team-high 33 3-pointers and makes 82 percent of his free throws, while Bryant Allen (6-0, Jr., G, Maplewood, Mo.) averages 9.8 points with 24 3-pointers.
 The Redbirds rank 10th nationally in assists (17.5), 16th in FG Pct. (.489) and 28th in scoring (78.6).

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