Bears Return to Road for Showdown at Southern Illinois
Missouri State Bears (9-11, 2-7 MVC) at
Southern Illinois (9-11, 4-5 MVC)
January 29, 2009 - SIU Arena, Carbondale, Ill., 8 p.m. (Mediacom)
Television - Mediacom Connections (Dan Lucy and Don West)
Radio - KTXR (101.3 FM) and Missouri State Bears Basketball Radio Network (LISTEN LIVE)
Game Notes - MISSOURI STATE - SOUTHERN ILLINOIS - MISSOURI VALLEY
Live Stats - CLICK HERE
Bears Return to Road for Showdown at SIU - Missouri State begins the second half of the 2008-09 MVC schedule Thursday with a road showdown against Southern Illinois (8 p.m.). The game was originally scheduled to be played on Wednesday, Jan. 28, but was postponed due inclement weather in Springfield and Carbondale and resulting travel considerations.
The Bears are coming off a 1-1 homestand that featured an impressive 65-44 win over Drake and a competitive 78-69 loss to front-running Northern Iowa. In the UNI game, the Bears fought back from a 23-point deficit with 5:51 left in the game to cut it to seven with just under a minute left. Chris Cooks’ missed free throw with 42 seconds left would have made it a two-possession game, but the Bears 15-point outburst in the final 1:44 fell short.
Southern Illinois’ two-game winning streak was snapped Saturday at Illinois State, 70-73, after the Salukis had reeled off wins in four of their previous five contests with just a one-point overtime loss at Creighton tarnishing the team’s record in that span. SIU is 6-3 at home this season and has won two straight at SIU Arena. Coming into the season, the Salukis were 92-6 at SIU Arena since 2001-02.
Current Missouri State assistant coach Kent Williams was a standout performer for the Salukis from 1999-2003 and made 249 three-pointers during his tenure with Coach Bruce Weber’s squad. Williams ranks No. 2 on SIU’s career scoring list (2,012) and is the school’s career leader in points in MVC games (1,154). He played alongside current SIU assistant Brad Korn in the SIU lineup and played for current Saluki head coach Chris Lowery who was an assistant on Weber’s staff from 2001-03.
Sizing up the Opposition - The Salukis return two starters from last year’s 18-15 squad that finished third in the MVC (11-7) and advanced to the second round of the NIT.
2008 Illinois Mr. Basketball Kevin Dillard (6-0, 160, Fr., G) paces the SIU attack with a 12.7 scoring average with 37 three-pointers, 81 assists and a team-best 24 steals. Returnee Carlton Fay (6-8, 225, So., F) is the other Saluki averaging double figures, scoring 11.0 per game with 4.5 rebounds and 24 threes. Returning MVC Defensive Player of the Year Bryan Mullins (6-1, 185, Sr., G) has dished out 5.5 assists per game, has hit 34 threes and averages 9.5 points per contest while leading the MVC in assist-to-turnover ratio this season.
As a team, Southern ranks atop the Missouri Valley Conference in three-point field goal percentage (.399) with 6.6 makes per game and five players with 13 or more treys to their credit this season.
Coach Chris Lowery (SIU, 1995) is 5-4 against the Bears.
The Series - Southern Illinois leads the all-time series (which dates to December 20, 1957), 35-26.
The Bears are 7-19 all-time in Carbondale, 7-18 in SIU Arena, 16-13 in Springfield and 3-3 at neutral sites against the Salukis. MSU is 2-0 in overtime against SIU.
Missouri State won the most-recent meeting between the two squads, 63-62 on January 23, 2008 at Hammons Student Center, snapping a four-game Saluki win streak in the series. SIU won last season’s other meeting between the two clubs, 79-71, on December 30, 2007 at SIU Arena.
Head Coach Cuonzo Martin - Cuonzo (CON-zoe) Martin (Purdue, 2000) is in his first season as a collegiate head coach after 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 4/1/08.
He is 9-11 in his coaching tenure, including a 2-7 mark in MVC play, and 1-6 mark on the road. He has never coached or played against SIU.
Martin (37) 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.
Bears Basketball Radio Network - All Missouri State Bears 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, while former Bears players Mike Keltner (1972-74) and Jeff Ford (1989-90) will provide color commentary throughout the season. Hains first began calling Bears’ action in 1977 and is in his second stint and 28th season overall as the Voice of the Bears. He called Bears games from 1977-81 and returned to that post in 1985. He has now announced 841 Bears’ basketball games in his career.
MSU basketball can also be heard on the 10-station, two-state Missouri State Bears Football Radio Network on the following affiliates: Ava - KKOZ (92.1 FM/1430 AM); El Dorado Springs - KESM (105.5 FM); Jefferson City - KJMO (97.5); Kansas City - KCWJ (1030 AM); Monett - KKBL (95.9 FM); Poplar Bluff - KLID (1340 AM); St. Louis - KSLG (1380 AM or 1490 AM); Sparta, Ill. - WHC) (1230 AM); Springfield - KTXR (101.3 FM) (flagship); Willow Springs - KUKU (100.3 FM).
Podcasts - Missouri State now produces a weekly Podcast, available on the Missouri State Athletics web site -- www.MissouriStateBears.com -- by clicking on the Fan Central icon or the Podcast banner ad. The podcasts will be updated every Tuesday. The Podcasts are also available at iTunesU.
Television - Missouri State will also appear on Mediacom Connections (Channel 14 locally) eight times this season. Don West provides the play-by-play and Dan Lucy is the color commentator for the Mediacom games. The Missouri Cable Sports Network will also show the games throughout Missouri, with the schedule determined by each local Mediacom market.
Remaining games on this year’s Mediacom Connections slate are: Jan. 28 (at Southern Illinois), Feb. 1 (at Creighton), Feb. 4 (Evansville), Feb. 10 (at Wichita State) and Feb. 17 (at Bradley). The Bears are 1-1 on Mediacom this season.
MSU will also be featured on FOX Sports Midwest twice this season -- Jan. 10 (loss at Northern Iowa) and Feb. 14 (Indiana State), while the Bears will play on two national ESPN telecasts at home Jan. 25 on ESPNU (loss to UNI) and Feb. 7 on ESPN2 (Southern Illinois).
Bears Live! - Bears Live is a new, premium broadband video destination for exclusive live and on-demand Missouri State streaming video & audio content. This broadband video channel is the ultimate place for Bears fans on the web and can be accessed through www.MissouriStateBears.com, the official web site of Missouri State Athletics. Links to live game stats and the Missouri State Bears Basketball Radio Network free live audio stream can be found on the game notes page for this week’s game on the MSU Athletics Web page -- www.MissouriStateBears.com. Today’s game will not be shown on Bears Live! due to restrictions by Southern Illinois’ streaming provider.
Reset the Clock - All you need to know about the Bears for tonight’s game in 35 seconds or less . . . Missouri State is two wins away from 1,500 all-time . . . Due to a variety of injuries this season, the Bears practiced on January 23 with all 14 players for the first time this season . . In nine Valley games, the Bears have used six different starting lineups and have used nine lineups overall this season . . . Wade Knapp is the only Bear to start all 20 games this season and has controlled the opening tip in six of nine league games . . . Knapp, Kyle Weems (Fr., F, Topeka, Kan.) and Ryan Jehle (So., F, Overland Park, Kan.) are the only Bears to have played all 20 games . . . Justin Fuehrmeyer (Jr., G, St. Charles, Mo.) now qualifies for the league leaders, having played in 75 percent of the team’s games. He ranks second only to SIU’s Bryan Mullins in assist-to-turnover ratio (3.1), a category he led the MVC in last season.
Cooks Last Week’s MVC Player of the Week - Senior Chris Cooks (Idabel, Okla.) was named Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Week on January 19 after back-to-back 20-point games.
In the team’s win over Wichita State (1/14/09), Cooks had career highs with 23 points and 11 rebounds to go with an 8-for-15 shooting performance that included a pair of assists and four steals. He followed that outing with 20 points at Illinois State (1/18/09) with five rebounds and a game-high five assists. His 43 points for the week secured his top two scoring efforts of his career and gave the Bears their first 20-point performances of the 2008-09 season.
Cooks was the first Bear to receive the conference award this season and just the second since 2005-06. Dale Lamberth (March 1, 2008) was the most-recent MSU player to earn Player of the Week honors, while Blake Ahearn received the award on December 5, 2005.
Poll Position - For the first time in their 19-year tenure in the Missouri Valley Conference, the Missouri State men were picked last in the 10-team conference. The Bears return three starters and six lettermen from a 17-16 team a year ago. Since joining the league in 1990-91, the Bears have been picked in the league’s upper division 16 times in the previous 18 preseason polls, as determined by conference coaches, sports information directors, beat writers and broadcasters.
The only previous lower division preseason predictions for the Bears in the Valley poll were in 1995-96 and 2002-03 when Missouri State was picked eighth both times. In 1995-96, MSU finished 16-12 overall and 11-7 in the league, tying for fourth place. In 2002-03, the Bears completed a 17-12 season and tied for third (12-6) in the MVC.
Creighton claimed 36 of the 39 first-place votes in this year’s preseason poll and was tabbed first with 386 points, followed by SIU (322), Illinois State (309), Drake (274), Bradley (219), UNI (186), Indiana State (137), Evansville (122), Wichita State (105), Missouri State (85). No Bears were named to the preseason all-conference team.
Hobbs Leaves Team - On December 11, freshman guard Derron Hobbs made the decision to end his playing career with the Bears and return to his home in St. Louis at the end of the first semester.
Hobbs was hampered by an ankle sprain that forced him to miss the team’s first three regular season games before his return to action on November 28 against Utah. He scored three points in the Utah game with a pair of rebounds and an assist and followed that performance with a five-point outing against Arkansas-Little Rock on December 3. He played, but did not score in his only other game with the team on December 6 against Arkansas State.
Bears Basketball Centennial - The 2008-09 season marks the 100th anniversary of Missouri State’s first basketball team in 1908-09. The University did not field teams in 1911-12, 1912-13, 1943-44 or 1944-45 due to World War I and II, making this the 97th season the Bears have hit the hardwood. MSU is the 27th winningest NCAA Division I program, having compiled a 1,498-826 (.645) all-time basketball record. Cuonzo Martin is Missouri State’s 16th head basketball coach.
Over the previous 10 seasons, the Bears are 191-128 (.599), which ranks 65th among all NCAA Division I schools during that span and third among Missouri Valley Conference schools behind No. 19 Creighton (.710) and No. 26 Southern Illinois (.691).
Court Captains - Seniors Spencer Laurie (G, Springfield, Mo.), Shane Laurie (G, Springfield, Mo.), Chris Cooks (F, Idabel, Okla.) and Wade Knapp (C, Wakeeney, Kan.) will share captain duties for the Bears this season. Spencer Laurie was a co-captain last season as well, making him one of 10 Bears to ever hold the honor of captain for more than one season. Previous multiple-year captains were: Finis Engleman (1914-15), Carl Fox (1927, 29), Gene Ruble (1949-50), Bill Thomas (1952-53), Max Oldham (1956-58), Danny Bolden (1966-67), Jimmy Dull (1977-78), Mark Lance (1981-82), and Danny Moore (1998-99).
Hall of Fame Happenings - Missouri State will induct seven individuals into its Athletics Hall of Fame on Saturay, Feb. 7. The 2009 class that includes Jackie Stiles (women’s basketball, 1997-2001), Johnny Murdock (men’s basketball, 1991-95), Bill O'Neill (coach/administrator, 1970-2008), Mark Stillwell (SID/administrator, 1972-2008), Keith Champion (baseball 1978-81), Kate Madden (softball 1993-96) and Brianne McGuirk Calvert (swimming, 1999-2003), will also be recognized at halftime of the Bears’ game against Southern Illinois that afternoon (3:05 p.m.).
Bears in the Final NCAA RPI - Since 1994-95, the Bears have finished in the NCAA Division I upper division in the Final RPI (Ratings Percentage Index) all 14 seasons, including four finishes in the top 40, five finishes in the top 50 and eight stops in the top 100. The Bears own three of the five best RPI’s not to have been selected for an at-large NCAA Tournament berth. MSU had the 21st-best RPI on Selection Sunday when it was snubbed for the Dance in 2005-06 as well as a Tourney exclusion after a No. 34 regular season placement in 1999-2000. The 2006-07 Bears were No. 36 in the NCAA’s power ratings on Selection Sunday. All three teams played in the NIT and were a collective 3-3 in the postseason those years. The 1996-97 Bears were 25-7 in the regular season, ranked No. 42 in the RPI and were also not awarded an NCAA at-large berth. The Bears have five 20-win seasons to their credit in the past 12 seasons and have recorded seven consecutive winning seasons.
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 has become a reality. 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’s five-game home winning streak was snapped on December 22 by Middle Tennessee, 63-51, in the finals of the Basketball Travelers Tip-Off Tourney.
MSU is 8-5 at JQH Arena this season with an average home attendance of 7,137, the team’s second-best total this decade.
Injuries in Abundance - Missouri State players have collectively missed 47 games this season due to a variety of injuries. Most recently, the Bears have been without the services of Spencer Laurie (fracture, non-shooting hand in the first half of the Evansville game) and Dominick Brumfield (stress fracture, foot in preseason).
By player, the following are the number of games missed with injuries this season: Dominick Brumfield (stress fracture, 19 games), Shane Laurie (concussion, 11), Justin Fuehrmeyer (ankle, 5), Chris Cooks (concussion, 3), Spencer Laurie (hand, 4), Cardell McFarland (ankle, 2), Derron Hobbs (ankle, 3).
In addition, Will Creekmore missed the team’s first eight games this season while waiting to become eligible after transferring from Boston University.
Exhibition Excellence - Five Bears averaged double figures in scoring for Missouri State’s pair of preseason exhibition games this November. MSU defeated Quincy, 79-44, on November 3 before a 103-73 victory over East Central (Okla.) on November 10. Both games were played at Hammons Student Center.
The Bears were led by Chris Cooks’ (Sr., F, Idabel, Okla.) who averaged 24.5 points per game, including 28 against East Central (Okla.) on November 10, the Bears averaged 91 points as a team and shot 46.4 percent from the field with 8.5 three-pointers per contest. Cardell McFarland (Fr., G, Evansville, Ind., 12.0), Kyle Weems (F, Topeka, Kan., 11.5), Wade Knapp (Sr., C, Wakeeney, Kan., 11.0) and Spencer Laurie (Sr., G, Springfield, Mo., 10.5) also averaged double figures in scoring, while Ryan Jehle (So., F, Overland Park, Kan.) averaged 9.0 points per game for the Bears in the exhibition season.
MSU surrendered just 58.5 points per game, forced 56 turnovers (28.0), and had a +8.0 rebound margin. The Bears also had 46 assists in the preseason and snagged 29 steals.
Work Bench - Missouri State’s reserves accounted for 50 of its 69 points in the UNI game on Sunday night (1/25/09) -- a season high. Four bench players scored in double figures, including 13 by Cardell McFarland, while Bear reserves collectively made good on seven three-pointers to stage the team’s late surge. Over the last six games, the Bears’ bench has collected 150 points (25.0 ppg), including 20 or more points five times.
Bears Will Host Air Force in Mountain West/MVC Challenge - In October, The Missouri Valley Conference and the Mountain West Conference announced an agreement to the formation of an annual Mountain West/Missouri Valley Challenge for men’s basketball, potentially beginning in 2009-10. All 19 members of both leagues will participate in the Challenge, which will feature head-to-head competition between nine Mountain West and nine Missouri Valley teams annually.
MSU will host Air Force on December 5, 2009 in the first-ever meeting between the two clubs.
Alumni Update - Missouri State alum Blake Ahearn (2003-07), the most accurate free throw shooter in NCAA Division I history, is back with the Dakota Wizards of the NBA Development League. In his first 14 games with the club, he is averaging 23.3 points and 5.8 assists, and has made 103-of-107 free throws. He scored 33 points against Reno (12/21/08) in his first game with the Wizards on 10-of-16 shooting with six three-pointers and eight assists and collected 40 points against Sioux Falls (1/9/09) with a 9-for-12 effort from three-point range.
He was reacquired by the Wizards on Dec. 19 after being assigned Nov. 30 to the Austin Toros -- the San Antonio Spurs’ D-League affiliate -- where he averaged 19 points and 6 assists in 6 games.
Ahearn signed with the NBA Spurs on November 16, and appeared in three games, averaging 2.7 points in 6.3 minutes in his second stint in the NBA. The Spurs were 6-2 with Ahearn.
This fall, he was in Minnesota’s training camp where he averaged 7.8 points and 1.2 assists in five preseason games. After being waived by the Timberwolves he joined the D-League’s Dakota Wizards where he was in camp prior to signing with the San Antonio Spurs.
Last season, Ahearn was named Rookie of the Year in the NBA Development League. In 41 games for the Dakota Wizards, he averaged 19.0 points, 3.5 assists, 2.0 rebounds and 29.4 minutes. He shot 49 percent (239-492) from the field, including 108-for-246 from three-point range, and 96 percent (191-199) from the line. At the end of the season, he was called up to the NBA’s Miami Heat on March 21, 2008, appearing in 12 games and scoring in double figures three times with 70 total points and an amazing 30-for-31 free throw effort.
Last season’s Co-Player of the Year, Deven Mitchell is playing for the Arkadia Traiskirchen Lions in the Austrian league and is averaging a team-best 25.0 points and 4.2 rebounds through 14 (of 22) games, including a 39-point output on 12/5/08, and an amazing 43-point effort on 12/28/08.
Drew Richards, also a 2007-08 standout, completed his degree at Missouri State in December and signed a contract on January 19 to play the next three months for the Erdgas squad in the German B League. In his first game with the club on Jan. 25, Richards fouled out with 2 points and 3 rebounds.
Looking Back - The Bears finished the 2007-08 season with a 17-16 mark and 8-10 (tie for seventh) record in the Missouri valley Conference. The Bears went 1-1 in the State Farm MVC Tournament before bowing out to Illinois State in the quarterfinals and did not reach the postseason (NIT or NCAA) for just the 12th time in their 26-years at the NCAA Division I level.
Four seniors and two additional squad members concluded their Missouri State careers in 2007-08. Starters Dale Lamberth (14.5 ppg, 5.3 rpg), Deven Mitchell (14.3, 6.1) and Drew Richards (7.2, 4.5) along with reserve Dex Manswell (2.3, 3.1) were seniors last season. Mitchell finished his career 19th on the Bears’ all-time scoring list with 1,131 points and became the 27th player in school history to eclipse the 1,000-point plateau. Lamberth finished with 954 points in three seasons at MSU.
Former head coach Barry Hinson (1999-08) finished his nine-year tenure with a 169-117 (.591) record overall and 95-67 (.586) mark in MVC play. He is currently serving on Bill Self’s staff at Kansas.
Looking Ahead - On November 12, Missouri State announced the receipt of National Letters of Intent from two men’s basketball prospects for the 2009-10 season. High school seniors Jerome Jones (6-5, 201, F, St. Louis, Mo., Miller Career Academy) and Keith Pickens (6-4, 190, SG, St. Louis, Mo., Oakville High) have announced their intentions to play for the Bears next season.
Jones had a 65-point outing in a five-overtime game against Gateway on 1/9/09 and is averaging 22.5 points through 16 games this season at Miller Career Academy (7-9) in St. Louis with 29 three-pointers and .809 FT%. As a junior, he scored 17.9 points and had 5.3 rebounds per game and was an all-conference and second team all-state performer, earning Post-Dispatch honorable mention all-metro distinction. As a sophomore, he averaged 13.9 points and 8.1 rebounds and was invited to the Nike Top 100 Hoop Jamboree. He was also a key player for the St. Louis Eagles AAU team.
Pickens scored a season-high 29 points on 1/19/09 against University City (13-for-18 shooting) and is averaging team-bests 14.8 points and 9.4 rebounds through 18 games at Oakville High School (13-5) in St. Louis with a .522 shooting percentage. In 2007-08, he averaged 13.0 points and 5.9 rebounds, accounting for 2.3 blocks and 1.7 assists per game. As a sophomore, he scored 7.3 points and 3.8 rebounds per contest.
Crafty in Crunch Time - The Bears scored 15 points in the final two minutes of Sunday’s game against UNI, outscoring the Panthers 15-9 in that span, including three-pointers by three different players. MSU trailed by 23 (68-45) with 5:51left and had an opportunity to cut the UNI lead to 6 before missing a free throw with 42 ticks left.
100 Grand and Counting - On January 14, MSU became the sixth team in the Missouri Valley to eclipse 100,000 in total attendance for the 2008-09 season. The Bears have now attracted 128,917 fans (6,445 average) in 20 games, including 92,786 (7,137) at JQH Arena, their second-best season attendance average this decade.
Back for More - Bears’ guard Spencer Laurie (Springfield, Mo.) returns for a fourth season with the Missouri State squad this season after being granted an additional year of eligibility under the NCAA waiver. The NCAA ruled this fall that due to the injury and personal circumstances during and following his second season at the University of Missouri (2004-05), he would be eligible for a fourth season of college basketball. After playing in 21 games as a true freshman at Missouri in 2003-04, he was injured after just 7 games in 2004-05. The injury coincided with a family emergency, which ultimately led to his transfer to Missouri State in his hometown of Springfield. He spent the 2005-06 season in residence at MSU after the transfer and became eligible for the Bears in 2006-07 -- his second full college season. He joins younger brother Shane Laurie and junior Justin Fuehrmeyer (G, St. Charles, Mo.) as the team’s three returning starters.
Dunk-O-Meter - Through 20 games, the Bears have 13 dunks to their credit as follows:
Wade Knapp 9
Isaiah Rhine 2
Kyle Weems 2
MSU opponents have 23 dunks. Auburn had 5 dunks in the season opener, while Arkansas State had four slams against the Bears at JQH. Likewise, MSU opponents have outscored the Bears, 462-424, in the paint and have a 61-39 advantage in fast-break points this season.
Coors Players of the Week - The Missouri State Coors Player of the Week for the week of January 18-24 is Cardell McFarland (6-2, 160, Fr., Evansville, Ind.).
McFarland posted his first back-to-back double-figure scoring efforts since the first two games of the season with 10 and 13 points, respectively, in a home win over Drake and single-digit loss to conference leader Northern Iowa. He made good on 7-of-16 (.438) field goals on the week, including four three-pointers, while grabbing five rebounds and dishing out a pair of assists. He was MSU’s top scorer in the UNI game with 13 points, marking the second time this season he has led the Bears in scoring.
Previous MSU Coors Players of the Week this season are:
November 10-16 - Chris Cooks (Sr., F, Idabel, Okla.)
November 17-23 - Kyle Weems (Fr., F, Topeka, Kan.)
November 24-30 - Spencer Laurie (Sr., G, Springfield, Mo.)
December 1-6 - Ryan Jehle (So., F, Overland Park, Kan.)
December 7-13 - Wade Knapp (Sr., C, Wakeeney, Kan.)
December 14-20 - Chris Cooks (Sr., F, Idabel, Okla.)
December 21-27 - Will Creekmore (So., C, Tulsa, Okla.)
December 28-January 3 - Spencer Laurie (Sr., G, Springfield, Mo.)
January 4-10 - Shane Laurie (Sr., G, Springfield, Mo.)
January 11-17 - Chris Cooks (Sr., F, Idabel, Okla.)
January 18-24 - Cardell McFarland (Fr., G, Evansville, Ind.)
Waiting in the Wings - Missouri State will welcome two Division I transfers to the program this year with the addition of former Eastern Kentucky standout Adam Leonard (6-0, 188, G, Lee’s Summit, Mo.) and Colorado product Caleb Patterson (7-0, 230, C, Ringwood, Okla.). Both players will be ineligible during the 2008-09 season.
Patterson,who will be eligible for three seasons with the Bears, played 14 games for the Buffaloes last season, gaining one start and scoring 20 total points.
Leonard was a two-year starter for the Colonels and helped EKU to the 2007 NCAA Tournament after accounting for 104 three-pointers his freshman season. He averaged 12.5 and 11.9 points, respectively, in his two years at EKU, and will have 2 years at MSU.
Up Next . . . The Bears continue a two-game road swing Sunday at Creighton (2:05 p.m.) before returning home February 4 to play Evansville (7:05 p.m.).