MSU Looks for Road Validation Wednesday at Evansville

Feb. 3, 2014

Missouri State Game Notes Get Acrobat Reader
Evansville Game Notes Get Acrobat Reader

Missouri State Bears (15-7, 5-5) at Evansville (10-13, 3-7)

Date: Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2014
Tipoff: 7:05 p.m. (Central)
Location: Ford Center (11,000), Evansville, Ind.
Series: MSU leads 32-27 (9-17 in Evansville)
TV: KY3-TV and Missouri State Basketball TV Network (Ned Reynolds, Kelby Stuckey) |  ESPN3
Radio: MSU Bears Radio Network, flagship KTXR (101.3 FM) (Art Hains, Mike Keltner)
Live Stats:
Live Video: ESPN3
Listen Live:
Tickets: Game 23 Tickets  |  Next home game tickets vs. Drake

Connect: @MissouriStBears @MSUBearsHoops #MSUBears


  • Jarmar Gulley (Sr., F, Beaumont, Texas) has posted 8 straight double-figure scoring games, the longest run of his MSU career. Over the last five games, he is averaging 18.0 points, 7.0 rebounds and shooting 92% from the line.
  • The Bears are 6-2 when making 50% of their shots, a standard they have reached 5 times in the last 8 games. In MVC games, Missouri State is shooting .462 from the field -- third-best in the conference.
  • Over the last five games, Dorrian Williams (So., G, Oklahoma City, Okla.) has a league-best 4.43 assist-to-turnover ratio, including 6.2 assists per game and 4.6 rebounds per game in that span.
  • The Bears have not swept a season series against Evansville since 2009-10 and are 0-2 all-time at the Ford Center.
  • MSU has increased its scoring average by nearly 13 points per game over last season, thanks in part to averaging 7.6 treys per contest -- third in the league -- a dramatic increase over last year’s 5.4 average from beyond the arc.
  • Austin Ruder (Fr., G, Nixa, Mo.) continues to lead the MVC in 3-pointers per game (2.41) and is the third MSU freshman to knock down 50 treys in a season (see p. 4). Only 7 MVC freshman have ever hit 60 or more.
  • After missing 7 games with a stress fracture, Keith Pickens (Sr., G/F, St. Louis, Mo.) returned for Saturday’s game against Bradley where he scored 5 points in 6 minutes. The Bears are 8-2 this season with Pickens and 7-5 without him.
  • Having made 12 3-pointers over the last 5 games, Ron Mvouika (Jr., G/F, Paris, France) now leads The Valley in 3-point field goal accuracy (.476). Since moving into the starting rotation, Mvouika is 12-for-18 (.667) beyond the arc.
  • Today’s game features the MVC’s top 3-point (per/g) shooters in Austin Ruder (2.41) and UE’s D.J. Balentine (2.35).
  • The top ppg freshmen in MVC games: Milton Doyle (LU, 18.2), Austin Ruder (MSU, 10.1), Blake Simmons (UE, 9.5).


    The series between the Bears and Aces dates back to the 1959 NAIA national championship game. The clubs have met 59 times with the Bears now owning a 32-27 lead, including an 9-17 ledger in Evansville (0-2 at Ford Center).
 Last year, Evansville beat the Bears 62-59 in overtime at the Ford Center (1/2/13), marking the third OT game in four tries between the clubs at the time. Anthony Downing led MSU with 17 points, while Nathan Scheer added 10 off the bench.
 MSU avenged the loss at JQH Arena (2/2/13) with a 62-61 decision to overcome an 11-point home deficit. Marcus Marshall led the Bears with 14 points, while Christian Kirk added 12, and Scheer scored 11.
 Earlier this season (Jan. 21), the Bears overcame a 34-32 halftime deficit to score a 64-61 home win over the Aces with Jarmar Gulley posting 26 points and 12 rebounds, while Kirk notching 11 off the bench. D.J. Balentine scored 18 for UE.

COACH Paul Lusk

Paul Lusk (Southern Illinois, 1995) is 42-45 (.483) in his third season at MSU and 44-68 (.393) in his fourth season overall as a head coach.  He is 21-25 in MVC games (14-8 at home, 7-17 on the road), 1-2 in MVC Tournament games and 21-20 in all non-conference games (13-6 at JQH Arena, 6-7 away and 2-7 at neutral sites).  He is also 27-15 in all home games, 13-23 on the road, and 2-7 at neutral sites. He is 2-3 against Evansville (0-2 on the road).
 The 42-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 16th 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.
 With the seventh-youngest team in Division I basketball last year, Lusk led MSU to its 42nd straight winning record at home and the fifth-best turnover average in the nation (10.2). The 2012-13 Bears also set high-water marks for most games against ranked opponents with six and the best single-season scoring total for a freshman class in program history (855).


   MSU will close out a two-game Valley road swing on Saturday, Feb. 8 at Southern Illinois at 6 p.m., on FOX Sports Midwest.
 MSU returns home on Wednesday, Feb. 12 for a rematch with Drake (7 p.m.) on ESPN3 to begin a two-game MVC homestand and begin a stint with four home games in a five-game stretch.

LAST GAME (Feb. 1)

   Missouri State (15-7, 5-5 MVC) knocked down 12 3-pointers and shot 57 percent from the field to push the Bears past visiting Bradley, 74-61, here Saturday in Missouri Valley Conference play.
   Jarmar Gulley led all players with 19 points and 9 rebounds for the Bears who won their 13th game at JQH Arena in 14 tries. Austin Ruder added 13 points for the winning side, while Ron Mvouika scored 10.
   Walt Lemon, Jr., led four Braves in double figures with 13 points, while Omari Grier knocked down four 3-pointers to finish with 12 for Bradley (9-14, 4-6).
   MSU used an 11-0 run at the end of the first half and start of the second to pull away and keep the visitors at arm’s length most of the second half. All five of the game’s lead changes came in the first half before the Bears ended the first period on a 7-0 run with a free throw by Nathan Scheer, a 3-pointer by Gavin Thurman and transition trey by Gulley to make it 33-28 at the break.
   Paul Lusk’s club then came out on fire to begin the second half as Gulley scored on a quick layup before Ruder hit a cutting Mvouika for another bucket to force a Bradley timeout less than a minute into the period.  
   The Braves responded by cutting the Missouri State advantage from 37-28 to 37-34 over the next two minutes, but Gulley and Emmanuel Addo stepped up over the game’s next five minutes to keep the Bears ahead.  After a 3-pointer by Grier made it a 44-42 contest with 12:35 on the clock, Addo dropped in one of the biggest shots of the game on a 3-pointer from the top of the key after a scramble to push MSU ahead by five.
   Bradley added a free throw by Xzavier Taylor on its next possession to make it a 47-43 contest, but BU would get no closer than 8 the rest of the way as Missouri State scored 27 points in the game’s final 10 minutes, including three 3-pointers by Ruder, to pull away. The Bears made their last 8 free throw attempts of the afternoon and got a hook shot by Gavin Thurman with just over two minutes to go to climb ahead by 16, their biggest lead of the night.
   Missouri State matched season-highs with 6 blocks and 12 makes from bonus distance. The Bears finished 25-for-44 (.568) from the field and 12-for-25 (.480) from 3-point range while making 12-of-16 (.750) at the line with just 9 turnovers.
   Bradley also committed just 9 turnovers and won the battle of the boards by a 29-24 margin. The Braves collected 13 offensive caroms that led to 12 second-chance points. MSU’s amped up defensive effort held the Braves to 19-for-51 (.373) from the field and 7-of-18 (.389) from 3-point distance, while BU capitalized on 16-of-20 (.800) free throws.
   The game started well for the Bears as Mvouika scored 8 points before the first media timeout to help push the home club ahead 15-4 just over five minutes into the contest.  Bradley later pulled within 17-11 before a dunk by Christian Kirk brought the JQH Arena crowd to its feet at the 10-minute mark and extended MSU’s lead to 8 at the time.
   But Bradley rallied over the next five minutes and used a 10-0 spurt as part of an extended 12-2 run to take a 23-21 lead on a bucket in traffic by Taylor with 4:43 to play before the half.  The lead would change hands three more times before the intermission, but it was the home club that rallied with the 7-0 run just before the break to make it a 33-28 contest at the halfway point.



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