Bears Look to Get Back on Track Sunday with Visit from Drake
Forward - Christian Kirk
Forward - Christian Kirk

Jan. 25, 2013

  |  MSU Game Notes (PDF)  |  Drake Game Notes (PDF)

Missouri State Bears (5-15, 3-5) vs. Drake (9-10, 3-5)

The Last Meeting
Missouri State77
January 5, 2013
Des Moines, Iowa
Missouri State Improves to 2-1 in Valley Play with 77-65 Win at Drake
Anthony Downing scored a season-high 24 points, and Missouri State captured its first road win of the season here Saturday with a 77-65 Missouri Valley Conference decision over Drake

Jan. 27, 2013, JQH Arena (11,000), Springfield, Mo., 2:00 p.m. (CT)



The Ten Count

  • Missouri State is 20-1 at home against Drake all-time, including a 4-0 mark at JQH Arena. Drake’s only win in Springfield was a 73-61 decision at Hammons Student Center, Jan. 13, 2001.
  • MSU is 2-2 in Sunday games under Coach Paul Lusk, including a 1-1 mark this season.
  • Gavin Thurman (Fr., F, Wichita, Kan.) is averaging 10.8 points per game in Valley play and has posted double-figure scoring efforts in his last four games, including career-high 21 points against Wichita State on Wednesday.
  • The Bears shot just 58.7 percent (118-for-201) from the free throw line in non-conference play, but are firing at a 72.5 percent (95-for-131) clip at the stripe in Missouri Valley Conference games.
  • Anthony Downing (Sr., Atchison, Kan.) has scored in double figures in 18 straight games at JQH Arena and 9 straight games overall. He scored 24 points against Drake earlier this season (Jan. 5) in Des Moines.
  • The Bears’ freshman class has accounted for 44.9 percent of the team’s points this season, the 13th-best freshman scoring percentage in the nation. see sidebar on page 6.
  • Members of Missouri State’s 1952 and 1953 NAIA national championship teams will be recognized at halftime.
  • Christian Kirk (So., F, Springfield, Mo.) is the only Bears’ player to score in every game this season.
  • Marcus Marshall (Fr., G, St. Paul, Minn.) is 15 points shy of 200, a feat achieved by just 13 MSU freshman players.
  • MSU’s 19-0 run against Wichita State on Wednesday was the club’s best run over the last five seasons.

Setting the Stage

  Missouri State reaches the midway point in the Missouri Valley Conference schedule Sunday afternoon (2 p.m.) when the Bears lock horns with visiting Drake in an ESPN3 production.
 The Bears are looking to snap a four-game Valley skid that has included three defeats by 10 points or less, including Wednesday’s 62-52 setback against No. 20 Wichita State.
 Coach Paul Lusk’s squad held the 20th-ranked Shockers to their second-lowest field goal percentage (.370) and third-lowest point total of the season. MSU scored the final seven points of the first half to trail 25-21 at the break and then opened the second stanza with a 12-0 run to take an eight-point lead. Gavin Thurman (Fr., F, Wichita, Kan.) who had a career-high and game-high 21 points, sparked both surges for the home club. He scored Missouri State’s last 9 points of the opening period and then added 7 in the first four minutes after halftime.  Anthony Downing (Sr., G, Atchison, Kan.) also contributed 14 points for the Bears, while Drew Wilson (Fr., F, Tulsa, Okla.) snagged a team-high 7 rebounds.
 Drake comes to town on the heels of a 74-69 home win over No. 12 Creighton in Des Moines on Wednesday. The Bulldogs got 43 points from their reserves, including a game-high 20 from Richard Carter (Jr., G, Detroit, Mich.). Drake out-rebounded the Bluejays, 39-31, to win its third game in four tries.

Head Coach Paul Lusk

Paul Lusk (Southern Illinois, 1995) is 21-31 (.404) in his second season at MSU and 23-54 (.299) in his third season overall as a head coach.  He is 12-14 in the MVC (6-7 at home, 6-7 on the road), 9-16 in non-conference play (6-6 at JQH Arena, 3-6 away and 0-5 at neutral sites).  He is also 12-13 in all home games, 9-13 on the road, and 0-5 at neutral sites. He is 3-0 against Drake (1-0 at JQH).
 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

  Missouri State leads the all-time series against Drake, 36-10, with the Bears prevailing in six straight meetings and eight of the last 10. The teams first met in 1986.
 MSU is gunning for its third straight season sweep against the Bulldogs after taking a 77-65 decision in Des Moines on Jan. 5.  In that game, Anthony Downing (Sr., G, Atchison, Kan.) scored 24 points, and the Bears shot 51 percent from the field to secure their only road win of the season to date. Gavin Thurman (Fr., F, Wichita, Kan.) added 13 points, Marcus Marshall (Fr., G, St. Paul, Minn.) scored 11, and Keith Pickens (Jr., F, St. Louis, Mo.) added 10 in the winnng cause, while Nathan Scheer (Jr., G/F, Washington, Mo.) snagged 8 rebounds.
 Against Drake, MSU is 20-1 at home (4-0 at JQH Arena) all-time, 15-8 in Des Moines and 1-1 at neutral sites.

The Opponent

   Fifth-year head coach Mark Phelps (Old Dominion, 1986) is 71-78 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.).
 Drake (9-10, 3-5 MVC) comes to town on the heels of a 74-69 home win over No. 12 Creighton in Des Moines on Wednesday (Jan. 23). The Bulldogs got 43 points from their reserves, including a game-high 20 from Richard Carter (Jr., G, Detroit, Mich.). Drake also out-rebounded the Bluejays, 39-31, to win its third game in four tries.  Simons (Sr., F, Cadillac, Mich.) leads Drake with 14.2 points per game and 46 3-pointers this season, while Jordan Clarke (Sr., F, Rockville, Md.) leads the squad with 8.1 rebounds

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