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Bears Look to Rebound at Home Tuesday Night Against ISU



Missouri State Bears (13-5, 3-4) vs. Indiana State (11-7, 3-4)

Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2010, 7:07 p.m.

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The Game: After a rough stretch on the road last week, the Bears return home Tuesday (7:05 p.m.) in hopes of rebounding against Indiana State in a pivotal Missouri Valley Conference game at JQH Arena. The game will be televised regionally on FSN Midwest and the MVC TV network.

 Missouri State owns a 9-1 home record this season and looks to regain some of its pre-New Year's swagger with three of its next four games at JQH Arena. So far, Cuonzo Martin's squad is 2-4 in 2010 and will be making its first appearance on regional TV this season.

 ISU has also lost two straight league games and owns a 5-5 record away from the Hulman Center in Terre Haute.

 The Bears continue MVC play Sunday when they travel to Creighton (7:05 p.m.) before closing out the month with home games against Evansville (Jan. 27) and league-leading Northern Iowa (Jan. 30).

The Series: The series between the Bears and Sycamores dates back to 1952 with the Bears owning a 34-17 series advantage. Indiana State has won the last two games in the series, but the Bears had won the previous six games prior to last season. The Bears are 0-1 at JQH Arena and 21-4 in all home games against the Sycamores.

The Coaches: Missouri State head coach Cuonzo Martin (Purdue, 2000) is 24-25 (.490) overall, 18-9 (.654) at JQH Arena in his second season at MSU and overall. He is 0-2 against Indiana State, 6-19 in MVC games, 4-10 in January, and 1-5 on Tuesdays.

 Martin spent eight seasons as an assistant coach and associate head coach at Purdue (2000-08) where he was a standout performer for coach Gene Keady from 1991-95. He became MSU's 16th head basketball coach on April 1, 2008.

 He (38) played professional basketball for four years, including two stops with the Milwaukee Bucks and one with the Vancouver Grizzlies of the NBA. He spent most of his professional playing time in the Continental Basketball Association and in Europe, leading Grand Rapids in scoring three seasons and leading the Felize Scandone team in Avellino, Italy in 1997. Originally from East St. Louis, Ill., he scored 20 points against the Bears as a Purdue player on 12/22/92 and helped Purdue to a 4-0 mark against MSU as a player and coach.

 Indiana State head coach Kevin McKenna (Creighton, 1993) is 37-44 (.457) in his third season with the Sycamores and 128-77 (.624) in his seventh season as a head coach. He previously coached four seasons at Nebraska-Omaha. He is 2-2 all-time against Missouri State and 1-0 at JQH Arena.

The Ten Count: Ten Missouri State quick facts relating to today's game:

  • Kyle Weems is looking for his 20th consecutive double-figure scoring game tonight. He is the only MSU player to score in double figures all 18 games this season, and in 27 of the last 29 contests overall.
  • Adam Leonard needs 6 points to reach 1,000 for his career. The junior transfer from Eastern Kentucky posted 758 points in 62 games with the Colonels from 2006-08 and has scored 236 in 18 games with the Bears.
  • Adam Leonard has hit at least one three-pointer in 38 straight games. The last time he failed to hit a field goal from beyond the arc was Dec. 8, 2007 when he was 0-for-7 from three against Western Kentucky.
  • MSU head coach Cuonzo Martin is looking for a milestone victory this week as he eyes his 25th career win. The second-year sideline boss is now 24-25 at Missouri State and as a head coach.
  • The Bears' modest 53.8-percent FT shooting effort (7-for-13) at Bradley on Saturday was the squad's worst outing in six games and broke the team's trend of .820 shooting (91-for-111) at the line for its previous five games.
  • Prior to the weekend, MSU ranked 14th nationally in free throw percentage (.759), while Indiana State ranked 12th (.760).
  • Indiana State is one of four teams, along with Creighton, Southern Illinois and Northern Iowa, that second-year head coach Cuonzo Martin has yet to beat.
  • Over the last two seasons, the Bears are 13-3 when scoring 70 points or more. This year, MSU is averaging 72.8 points per game at home while making 45.2 percent of its field goals and notching 7.7 three-pointers per contest.
  • Missouri State point guard Nafis Ricks, the 2008-09 National Junior College Player of the Year (all divisions), has scored 35 points over the last three games (11.7) with 14 rebounds and 8 assists, all off the bench.
  • Last year's 76-71 win at JQH Arena (2/14/09) was ISU's first win over the Bears in Springfield since 1976.

Dunk-O-Meter: Missouri State's season dunk total is now 26. The current MSU Dunk-O-Meter looks like this:

Last Outing: Missouri State dropped its second straight Missouri Valley Conference game in Peoria on Saturday, falling 74-56 to Bradley before 9,628 fans at Carver Arena.

 The Bears got 17 points behind five three-pointers by junior Adam Leonard (Jr., G, Lee's Summit, Mo.) who led all scorers, but it wasn't enough as MSU fell to 2-4 in the month of January. Kyle Weems (So., F, Topeka, Kan.) added 10 points for Missouri State.

 After Bradley led 38-23 at the half, it got a three-pointer 45 seconds into the second period by Chris Roberts to build a 41-23 advantage. After the Braves extended their lead to 61-42 at the nine-minute mark, the Bears got a layup from Ryan Jehle and back-to-back threes from Weems and Leonard to pull within 13 points of the lead, 64-51, with just 7:14 to play. However, the Braves made 9-of-11 charity shots in the second half and shot 52.8 percent from the field for the game to secure the win.

 The Bears shot 34.4 percent on 21-of-61 from the field and were outrebounded by a lopsided 43-28 margin.

On the Radio: All Missouri State games can be heard on KTXR, Springfield (101.3 FM), the flagship station of the Missouri State Bears Basketball Radio Network. Play-by-play man Art Hains will provide the game description.

 Hains first began calling Bears action in 1977 and is in his second stint and 29th season overall as the Voice of the Bears. He called MSU games from 1977 to 1981 and returned to the mic in 1985. The Indiana State game will be Art's 871st Missouri State basketball broadcast.

 Color commentary will be provided this season by former Bears Mike Keltner (1970-74) and Drew Richards (2004-08). The Bears are 9-3 with Keltner providing color and 4-2 with Richards.

 MSU basketball can also be heard on the nine-station MSU Bears Basketball Radio Network (see sidebar), in addition to live audio streaming on www.RadioSpringfield.com.

On Television: Tuesday's game will be shown live on FOX Sports Midwest and the MVC Television Network, which also includes Metro Sports in Kansas City. Mitch Holthus will provide the play-by-play description, while former Bears' head coach Charlie Spoonhour (1983-92) will be the game's color analyst. This will be Missouri State's only home game on FS Midwest this season.

National & Conference Leaders: In Friday's NCAA statistical rankings, the Bears rank among the nation's top 50 teams in four statistical categories, including 14th in free throw percentage (.759). Adam Leonard (Jr., G, Lee's Summit, Mo.) ranks 62nd nationally in three-point field goals per game (2.7) and 65th in three-point field goal percentage (.383). Kyle Weems (So., F, Topeka, Kan.) ranks 170th in scoring (15.8), 88th in field goal percentage (.511), and 108th in three-pointers per game (2.4). Jermaine Mallett (Jr., F, Jackson, Miss.) ranks 69th in free throw percentage (.847) and Justin Fuehrmeyer (Sr., G, St. Charles, Mo.) ranks 17th in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.76) and 211th in assists per game (3.6).

 In Monday's MVC statistics, the Bears lead the Valley in three-point field goal percentage (.379), turnover margin (+2.9) and assist-to-turnover ratio (+1.2). Among individuals ranking in the top 10 in the league statistics, Kyle Weems ranks 3rd in scoring (15.4), 7th in rebounding (5.8), 1st in three-point field goal percentage (.472), 8th in FG percentage (.500), 7th in steals (1.5), 4th in three-pointers per game (2.3), 8th in blocked shots (0.8), and 6th in defensive rebounds (4.8). Jermaine Mallett is 8th in rebounding (5.6), and 5th in FT percentage (.847), while Adam Leonard is 7th in scoring (13.1), 3rd in FT percentage (.854), 2nd in three-pointers per game (2.8), and 3rd in minutes played (33.6). Caleb Patterson (So., C, Ames, Okla.) is 5th in FG Percentage (.514) and 10th in blocked shots (0.8). Justin Fuehrmeyer is 1st in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.9) and 5th in assists (3.5).

Milestones: Kyle Weems (So., F, Topeka, Kan.) will play in his 50th career game and needs 6 points for 600 career ... Adam Leonard (Jr., G, Lee's Summit, Mo.) needs 6 points for 1,000 in his career and 5 field goal attempts for 800 ... Jermaine Mallett (Jr., F, Jackson, Miss.) needs 15 points for 200 this season ... Justin Fuehrmeyer (Sr., G, St. Charles, Mo.) needs 56 points for 500, 20 assists for 300, 15 rebounds for 200, and 10 steals for 100 in his career ... Ryan Jehle (Jr., F, Overland Park, Kan.) needs 24 points for 200 career.

Coors Player of the Week: Caleb Patterson (So., C, Ames, Okla.) is this week's Coors Player of the Week. In two road games last week, the transfer from Colorado scored 24 points, all off the bench. He posted a career-high 17 points in Tuesday's game at Drake with a 6-for-10 shooting effort and 5-for-6 performance at the free throw line. He followed that with 7 points at Bradley on Saturday with three more field goals. For the week, Patterson notched 6 rebounds and played 42 minutes, while shooting 50-percent from the field (9-of-18).

Mountain West-Missouri Valley Challenge Series: The Missouri Valley Conference claimed the inaugural Mountain West-Missouri Valley Conference Challenge Series this fall, winning five games to four. The Bears were victorious over Air Force, 58-48, at JQH Arena on Dec. 5 in their series game. Other MVC winners in the series were: Indiana State, Wichita State, Illinois State, and Northern Iowa, while Evansville did not participate in the inaugural challenge.

 Overall, Missouri Valley teams completed the pre-Christmas non-conference season with an overall 75-32 record.

McFarland Dismissed Dec. 26: Missouri State men's basketball coach Cuonzo Martin announced Dec. 26 that sophomore guard Cardell McFarland (Evansville, Ind.), one of the team's three returning starters from last season, was dismissed from the squad due to an undisclosed violation of team conduct rules during the team's scheduled holiday break.

 McFarland played in five of the team's first 11 games this season, scoring 25 points with 7 rebounds and 8 assists. He missed three games with a knee contusion suffered in the Tulsa game on Nov. 28 and had been in uniform for the Bears' next three games, but did not play. As a freshman last season, he started 19 of the 29 games in which he appeared, averaging 6.9 points and 1.6 rebounds with a career-high 15 points at Tennessee-Martin on Feb. 21, 2009.

Spoonhour Headlines 2010 MSU Hall of Fame Class: Former Bears' head coach Charlie Spoonhour (1983-92) is one of six former Missouri State coaches and student-athletes to be inducted into the MSU Athletics Hall of Fame during ceremonies on campus, Feb. 5-6.

 Spoonhour posted a 197-81 (.709) record at Missouri State which included 20-win, postseason teams each of his final seven seasons. That stretch included Mid-Continent Conference regular season championships four years in a row from 1987 through 1990. The Bears' 1986 NIT club was Missouri State's first Division I postseason team and knocked off Pitt and Marquette before a one-point loss to Florida in the quarterfinals. The Bears reached the NCAA for the first time in 1987 and had a first-round win over Clemson before losing to Kansas. MSU returned to the NCAA meet in 1988, 1989 and 1990 from the Mid-Continent Conference, and in 1992 from the Missouri Valley Conference. The 1992 Bears won what remains the school's only men's MVC basketball championship. Spoonhour's 1987 team finished with a school record 28 wins and took a 15-game win streak into the NCAA second round vs. Kansas.

 The six new inductees will bring the total membership in the Missouri State Athletics Hall of Fame to 326.

 The rest of the shrine class features football player Jeremy Hoog (1994-1997), track and field athlete Verneta Lesforis (1997-1999), basketball player Roshonda Reed (1995-1999) and volleyball player Amy Russell McNew (1990-1993).

 The new inductees will go into the shrine at an induction ceremony to be held Feb. 6, in a 12 noon luncheon in the Plaster Student Union Ballroom. Inductees will also be recognized in halftime ceremonies in the first two of that weekend's Missouri State basketball games in JQH Arena. The Lady Bears will host Creighton University on Friday, Feb. 5, at 7:35 p.m., and the Bears will host Creighton Saturday, Feb. 6, at 7:05 p.m.

 The 2010 Missouri State Athletics Hall of Fame induction lunch is open to the public and reservations may be made through Monday, Feb. 1, by calling Missouri State Athletics Development (417) 836-4143. Tickets are $25 per person.

Assistant Coach Kent Williams Joins SIU Hall: Missouri State men's basketball assistant coach Kent Williams joined five other former Southern Illinois University athletics standouts as 2010 inductees into the SIU Athletic Hall of Fame on January 8.

 Williams (1999-2003) helped rejuvenate the men's basketball program at Southern Illinois a decade ago. As a four-year starter, his teams were 88-42 during his career and advanced to two NCAA Tournaments (2002, 2003), including a Sweet 16 appearance, and one NIT bid (2000). Williams became just the second player in school history to surpass 2,000 career points. He was a two-time, First-Team All-MVC selection (2002, 2003) and runner-up to Kyle Korver for MVC Player of the Year in 2003. He ranks among the school leaders in numerous career categories, including 3-pointers (2nd), free throws (2nd) assists (8th) and games started (1st).

 Williams came to Missouri State, along with head coach Cuonzo Martin, from Purdue in the spring of 2008.

Bracket Busting: After posting a 10-1 record in non-conference play this season, the Bears now await news of their 2010 BracketBusters opponent for their final non-MVC foe of the season.

 The 2010 BracketBusters pairings will be announced on Feb. 1. The Bears will be one of 49 home teams in this year's series.

 Missouri State is 3-3 all-time in the BracketBusters series and is 1-2 at home. This year's game will be the first-ever BracketBusters game at JQH Arena.

 On Dec. 9, the Bears defeated Tennessee-Martin, 79-51, in their BracketBusters return game from last season. MSU improved to 6-0 all-time in BracketBusters return games with the win.

Non-Conference? Non-Problem: The Bears finished non-conference play (save the BracketBusters game in February) with a 10-1 record and are now 18-5 overall under head coach Cuonzo Martin against non-MVC foes. MSU has assured itself of its seventh straight winning record in non-conference games and has matched its highest non-league win total since the Bears were 11-4 in 1998-99.

Building the Program: On Wednesday, Nov. 11, Missouri State head coach Cuonzo Martin announced the receipt of National Letters of Intent from two high school prospects for the 2010-11 season. A third player committed to play for the Bears on Nov. 12.

 Committing to Missouri State were:

  • Nathan Scheer (6-5, 200, F, Washington, Mo., St. Francis Borgia High)
  • Corey Copeland (6-3, 180, G, Fort Smith, Ark., Northside High)
  • Aaron Cooper (5-11, 170, G, Jacksonville, Ark., North Pulaski High)

  Scheer, a student with a 3.95 GPA, was a consensus Missouri Class 4 All-State pick last season. He helped lead coach Dave Neier's St. Francis Borgia High School to a 28-3 overall record and Missouri state title last season after averaging 15.9 points and 5.0 rebounds as a junior. He also added 41 three-pointers, 60 assists and 44 steals last season. As a sophomore, Scheer led Borgia in scoring and rebounding with 17.1 points and 5.7 rebounds.

 Scheer scored a career-high 36 points on 12/9/09, including seven 3-pointers, to lead Borgia to a thrilling 78-75 victory over Whitfield. The Knights are ranked No. 1 in the state in Class 4 with a 13-0 record, while Scheer is averaging 24.2 points, 4.8 rebounds and 3.1 assists, with 45 threes. He has scored 77 points (25.7) over the last 3 games.

   Copeland helped his Fort Smith (Ark.) Northside squad to the Arkansas Class 7A quarterfinals last season, earning All-State honors and a spot on the All State Tournament Team. He averaged 15.2 points and led his team in field goal percentage. He holds a 3.4 GPA and is considered an athletic player with outstanding leaping and shooting abilities. Martin calls Copeland a slasher who can make shots and play three different positions.

 His Grizzlies are 11-6 so far this season. He had 14 points in Saturday's come-from-behind win over Rogers (Ark.).

  Cooper averaged 18.0 points and 4.1 assists as a prep junior a year ago at North Pulaski (Ark.) High. He made 82-percent of his free throws and knocked down 53-percent of his three-pointers. He is a reputable defender who uses his quickness to create offense, and has a great instincts. Martin says Cooper has the potential to be a great on-ball defender and a scoring point guard. His father, Raymond, is also his high school and AAU coach.

 His Falcons are off to a 12-4 start this season. He is averaging 16.8 points per game with 26 three-pointers.

Bears in the Pros: Blake Ahearn (2004-07) is back in the NBA Development League with 2 games under his belt with the Bakersfield Jam. He is averaging 5.0 points, 1.0 rebound, and 2.0 assists in a reserve capacity thus far in his return to America. He started the season in Spain and played 13 games for the MMT Estudiantes Madrid before returning to the U.S. He averaged 14.2 points, 1.1 rebounds, and 24.4 minutes per game and was 36-for-87 (.414) from three-point range. The NCAA all-time free throw leader broke the Spanish league record by going 57-for-58 (.983) at the charity stripe.

 Ahearn spent the bulk of the 2008-09 season with the Dakota Wizards of the NBA Development League where he was co-MVP of the D-League All-Star Game after claiming league's Rookie of the Year honors in 2007-08. Ahearn had stints with the NBA's San Antonio Spurs and Miami Heat during the most recent two seasons.

Deven Mitchell (2004-08) is playing for the CS Gaz Metan Medias squad in the Romanian League. He is averaging 11.3 points and 4.5 rebounds per game through 15 games while making 57.6 percent of his field goal attempts.

 Shelton Colwell (2003-04) is active in Austria, averaging 14.3 points and 5.3 rebounds through the first 12 games of the season for the BSC Raiffeisen Fursten feld Panthers.

 Former Bear Rodney Perry (1991-93) is coaching the upstart Kansas City Stars of the 54-team American Basketball Association where Dale Lamberth (2006-08) is now a team member.

Preseason Valley Poll: The Bears were picked ninth in the MVC preseason poll, marking just the fourth time since the Bears joined the league in 1990-91 that they have been picked to finish outside the 10-team conferences' upper division.

 Last season, the Bears were picked 10th in the league and finished 3-15 in the MVC, the program's lowest-ever finish.

Home Attendance: In 2008-09, the Bears eclipsed 100,000 fans (121,502) for the 17th time in the last 24 seasons. The team's final home average of 7,147 in 17 games at JQH Arena was the second-best home average for Missouri State this decade and 15th best all-time. The team's 2008-09 net attendance ranked No. 6 all-time at MSU.

 The Bears also improved to fourth in the Missouri Valley Conference in home attendance average after finishing sixth in 2007-08, and were Division I basketball's 20th most-improved program in home attendance in 2008-09.

 The Bears have been ranked between 55th and 90th among Division I programs in home attendance in 16 of the last 22 seasons, including a national ranking of 75th in 2008-09.

 Through 10 of 17 home games, the Bears have drawn 68,383 fans and are averaging 6,838 fans per game.

Debut of the Q: With a $30-million gift from Missouri State alumnus and Springfield-based hotel developer John Q. Hammons, the long-time dream of a new home for the Missouri State Bears and Lady Bears and an iconic tribute to MSU intercollegiate athletics became a reality last season. JQH Arena features a seating capacity of 11,000, including 50 courtside seats, 24 suites, PRIME Overtime Club, Hall of Fame and Legacy of Competition exhibits, 114 loge seats, 1,363 reserved student bleacher seats and 9,637 chairback seats.

 The Bears defeated Arkansas, 62-57, before a sellout crowd of 10,881 on November 22, 2008 in the inaugural game at JQH Arena. The first opponent to beat MSU in the facility was Utah, 71-58, on November 26, 2008. MSU is 9-1 at JQH Arena in 2009-10 and 18-9 all-time.

 MSU finished its inaugural campaign at JQH Arena with a 9-8 home record and an average home attendance of 7,147, ranking 75th among all Division I programs and 20th most-improved from the previous season.

The Program: Missouri State entered the 2009-10 season with the 28th-best all-time win total in NCAA Division I men's basketball and the 17th-best by winning percentage (.642). Currently, the Bears have an all-time record of 1513-840 (.643) in 98 seasons and are 528-323 (.620) since making the move to Division I in 1982-83.

 During its Division I era, MSU has made NCAA Tournament appearances in 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1992, and 1999. With Tournament wins over Wisconsin and Tennessee, the 1999 Bears advanced to the NCAA Sweet 16. The Bears have also appeared in the National Invitation Tournament eight times -- 1986, 1991, 1993, 1997, 2000, 2005, 2006, and 2007. The 1986, 1993 and 2006 squads all reached the NIT quarterfinals.

 The Bears won NAIA national championship titles in 1952 and 1953, while making six NAIA national tournament appearances from 1939-1954. MSU also appeared in the NCAA Division II Tournament 10 times, finishing as national runners-up on three occassions -- 1959, 1967, and 1969.

 Missouri State has won 23 conference titles, not including a 1992 Missouri Valley Conference Tournament title.

Missouri State University: Missouri State University is a public, comprehensive university system with a mission in public affairs, whose purpose is to develop educated persons while achieving five goals: democratizing society, incubating new ideas, imagining Missouri's future, making Missouri's future, and modeling ethical and effective behavior.

 With a record enrollment of 22,938 in 2009-10, MSU is the second-largest institution for higher learning in Missouri, and its identity is distinguished by its statewide mission in public affairs. This mission requires a campus-wide commitment to foster competence and responsibility in the common vocation of citizenship. Missouri State University-Springfield is a selective admissions, graduate level teaching and research institution.

 Missouri State competes at the NCAA Division I level and is a member of the Missouri Valley Conference with affiliate membership in the Mid-American Conference for field hockey and men's swimming and diving.

 Notable Missouri State alums include: Ryan Howard (2009 NLCS MVP, first baseman, Philadelphia Phillies), John Goodman (actor), Kathleen Turner (actress), David Glass (owner, Kansas City Royals), John Q. Hammons (businessman, hotel developer), Bob Holden (43rd governor of Missouri), Bill Mueller (2003 American League batting champ), Jackie Stiles (Division I career scoring leader), and Blake Ahearn (NBA D-League MVP and All-Star Game co-MVP).

Up Next: The Bears will visit Creighton on Sunday, Jan. 24 at 7:05 p.m. in a nationally-televised game on ESPNU before returning to JQH Arena for a pair of ball games next week. Missouri State closes out the month of January by hosting Evansville (Jan. 27 at 7:05 p.m.) and Northern Iowa (Jan. 30 at 2:05 p.m.)



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