Bears Prepared to do Battle With No. 11/13 Creighton Friday at JQH
Jan. 10, 2013
Missouri State Bears (5-11, 3-1) vs. #11/13 Creighton (15-1, 4-0)
Jan. 11, 2013, JQH Arena (11,000), Springfield, Mo., 7:05 p.m.
The Last Meeting
January 18, 2012
MSU Upset Hopes Fall Just Short Against No. 18 Creighton
Missouri State (11-9, 4-4) took No. 18 Creighton down to the wire, but could not get the potential game-winning shot to fall in the deciding moments here Wednesday as the Bluejays escaped JQH Arena with a 66-65 Missouri Valley Conference win and ended a six-game losing streak against the Bears.
Missouri State Game Notes (PDF) |
The Ten Count
- Missouri State has won six of the last seven meetings with Creighton, including three of the last four at JQH Arena.
- Nathan Scheer (Jr., Washington, Mo., 10.3 ppg in MVC) is 10-for-16 (.571) from 3-point range in MVC games.
- The Bears are 5-2 when out-rebounding or matching their opponents and 0-9 when getting beat on the glass.
- Missouri State will have played four of the five Preseason All-MVC players in consecutive games. Before meeting CU’s Doug McDermott tonight, the Bears squared off (in order) with Evansville’s Colt Ryan (13 points), Drake’s Ben Simons (17 points) and Illinois State’s Jackie Carmichael (21 points).
- Creighton enters the game ranked No. 1 nationally in 3-point FG’s per game (9.9) and No. 2 in 3-point accuracy (.449). The Bears rank 18th nationally in 3-point defense (.301) and have not allowed more than 8 treys in any game.
- MSU has led at halftime in 50 percent of its games this season, going 5-3 when it leads after 20 minutes.
- Anthony Downing (Sr., Atchison, Kan.) has scored 24 points in back-to-back games, and is averaging 20.3 points in MVC action. His top point output came on Dec. 28, 2012 in the Bears’ 77-65 win over No. 19 Creighton in Omaha.
- Paul Lusk and CU’s Greg McDermott are among 62 DI coaches who also earned all-conference honors as a DI player.
- MSU has had fewer turnovers than 13-of-16 opponents this season and the same or fewer than 30 of its last 36.
- Keith Pickens (Jr., St. Louis, Mo.) is averaging team-bests 6.0 rebounds and 1.3 blocks in conference action.
Setting the Stage
Playing like a brand-new team since the start of conference play, the third-place Missouri State Bears entertain the No. 11/13 Creighton Bluejays on Friday (7:05 p.m.) at JQH Arena in MVC action.
With Creighton checking in at No. 13 in this week’s AP poll, the preseason Valley favorites represent the highest-ranked team to ever play the Bears in Springfield (MSU played No. 1 Duke in the NCAA Tournament on March 19, 1999 in East Rutherford, N.J.). MSU is 6-22 all-time against AP Top 25 opponents with its most-recent victory coming with a 77-65 decision over (19) Creighton in Omaha on Dec. 28, 2011.
With a victory, the red-hot Bears would move into a tie with Creighton in the Valley standings and boast a 4-1 start in conference play for the first time since their 2010-11 MVC championship run (7-0 start).
Head Coach Paul Lusk
uthern 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 CollegeSportsMadness.com MVC Coach of the Year.
The series between the Bears and Bluejays dates to 1953 when the teams first met at McDonald Arena. All but three of the 59 all-time meetings have come when both clubs were members of the Missouri Valley Conference.
MSU is 28-31 all-time against Creighton, but has won six of the last seven meetings, including three of the last four in Springfield. The Bears own an 18-8 advantage in games played at home against CU (3-2 at JQH Arena). MSU is also 5-17 in the series in Omaha and 5-6 at neutral sites.
Last year, the clubs split the regular-season series with the Bears winning 77-65 over the No. 19 Bluejays in Omaha as Kyle Weems earned national player of the week honors for his career-high 31-point outburst. Anthony Downing also dropped 26 on CU in that game.
In the most-recent meeting (at JQH Arena, Jan. 18, 2012), the Bears missed two potential game-winning shots in the final 6.4 seconds to fall 66-65 to No. 18 Creighton before 9,124 fans at The Q. Downing scored 14 points in the game, while Weems added 13, and Jarmar Gulley and Caleb Patterson added 11 apiece.
Third-year head coach Greg McDermott (UNI, 1998) has four starters and 10 lettermen back from an MVC championship club that finished 29-6 a year ago and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament. McDermott is 67-23 at Creighton and 347-218 in 19 seasons overall. The Bluejays are the Valley preseason favorite again this year and enter tonight’s game with a 3-0 record on the road.
Leading the way for CU is All-American forward Doug McDermott. The 6-8 junior from Ames, Iowa, is third in the nation in scoring (22.6) and 38th in free throw percentage (.874). He also collects 7.3 rebounds, has knocked down 34 3-pointers and makes 55 percent of his shots. Providing support for the defending Valley Player of the Year is Gregory Echenique (6-9, Sr., Guartire, Venezuela) who scores 10.8 points and snags 7.6 boards per outing, while Ethan Wragge (6-7, Jr., Eden Prairie, Minn.) is averaging 9.8 points, makes 91 percent of his foul shots and has a team-high 43 3-pointers.