Bears Set for Tuesday Tangle in Cedar Falls
Forward - Keith Pickens
Forward - Keith Pickens

Feb. 4, 2013

  |  MSU Game Notes (PDF)  | UNI Game Notes (PDF)

Missouri State Bears (7-16, 5-6) at UNI (12-11, 5-6)

The Last Meeting
Northern Iowa51
Missouri State63
January 28, 2012
Springfield, Mo.
Bears Leave Nothing to Chance in Double-Figure Win Over UNI
In a rivalry that had featured four straight one-point decisions, Missouri State (13-10, 6-5) left nothing to chance here Saturday as the Bears rolled to a 63-51 win over visiting Northern Iowa (14-9, 4-7) in a key Missouri Valley Conference game.

Feb. 5, 2013, McLeod Center (6,650), Cedar Falls, Iowa, 7:00 p.m. (CT)



The Ten Count

  • Missouri State will learn its Ramada BracketBusters opponent Monday at approximately 6 p.m. 
  • Over the last three games, six Bears are averaging 9.0 points per game or better -- Anthony Downing (14.7), Keith Pickens (13.0), Marcus Marshall (12.0), Gavin Thurman (11.7), Christian Kirk (11.0) and Nathan Scheer (9.0).
  • Since Jan. 27, Nathan Scheer  (Jr., G/F, Washington, Mo.) is 7-for-10 from 3-point range and 10-for-15 (.667) overall from the field. The Bears are 2-1 in that span.
  • Christian Kirk (So., F, Springfield, Mo.) has posted back-to-back double-figure scoring games for the first time since November and is 9-for-15 (.600) from the field over the last two ball games while averaging 11.0 points.
  • Gavin Thurman (Fr., F, Wichita, Kan.), last week's MVC's Newcomer of the Week, has scored 35 points (11.7 ppg) over the last three ball games, including 19 points last Wednesday at No. 17/21 Creighton.
  • The average margin of victory in the last five meetings with UNI is just 3.2 points, including four one-point games.
  • UNI's Marc Sonnen ranks third in the nation in 3-point accuracy (.483), while the Panthers are 22nd in FT% (.749).
  • Keith Pickens (Jr., F, St. Louis, Mo.) matched a career-high with 4 blocks against Evansville on Saturday and has posted half his season total (12) over his last two games. He is also scoring 13.0 points during that span.
  • In this week's NCAA rankings, Missouri State is 10th in fewest turnovers per game (10.7), tops in the MVC.
    Over their last three league games, MSU has overcome two double-digit, second-half deficits for victory

Setting the Stage

  Missouri State begins a two-game conference road swing Tuesday when the Bears invade the McLeod Center in Cedar Falls against the UNI Panthers (12-11, 5-6).  The teams enter the week in a four-way tie for fifth place in the Missouri Valley Conference standings, one game behind Evansville (6-5) and two games behind Indiana State (7-4) in the conference standings.
 The Bears are coming off a dramatic home win over Evansville on Saturday, 62-61, to snap a five-game skid against the Aces. Marcus Marshall (Fr, G, St. Paul, Minn.) was 9-for-11 at the line and finished with a team-high 14 points to lead MSU, while Christian Kirk (So., F, Springfield, Mo.) and Nathan Scheer (Jr., G/F, Washington, Mo.) led a 30-point bench attack with 12 and 11 points, respectively. Missouri State got the game-winning shot with 43 seconds left on a trey by Anthony Downing (Sr., G, Atchison, Kan.) and held off three UE field goal attempts in the game's deciding moments.
 UNI, which ranks 22nd in the nation in free throw percentage (.749) and 29th in fewest fouls (15.3), is coming off a 57-52 win over No. 15 Wichita State on Saturday in Cedar Falls. The Panthers snapped a two-game skid by knocking down eight 3-pointers and collecting 9 offensive rebounds with Anthony James, (Sr., G, St. Louis, Mo.) leading the way with a team-high 16 points.

Head Coach Paul Lusk

Paul Lusk (Southern Illinois, 1995) is 23-32 (.418) in his second season at MSU and 25-55 (.313) in his third season overall as a head coach.  He is 14-15 in the MVC (8-7 at home, 6-8 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 14-13 in all home games, 9-14 on the road, and 0-5 at neutral sites. He is 1-1 against UNI (0-1 at McLeod).
 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 with the Panthers, 40-23, a rivalry that dates back to 1983.
 The clubs have split the last four meetings overall with four of the last five ball games between the club being decided by a single point.  MSU is 18-12 all-time in Cedar Falls.
 In the most-recent meeting (Jan. 28, 2012), the Bears got 20 points from Kyle Weems and 15 from Anthony Downing, while Jarmar Gulley contributed 9 points and 10 rebounds to turn back the Panthers, 63-51.  UNI shot just 38 percent from the field and 55 percent at the line while getting a team-high 9 points from Seth Tuttle to help MSU beat UNI at JQH Arena for the first time.
 MSU career averages against UNI: Anthony Downing (2g, 12.0 ppg, 2.0 rpg), Keith Pickens (4g, 3.3 ppg, 2.8 rpg), Christian Kirk (2g, 2.0 ppg, 4.0 rpg), Nathan Scheer (4g, 0.8 ppg, 1.8 rpg), Mo.) and 10 apiece from Anthony Downing (Sr., G, Atchison, Kan.) and Gavin Thurman (Fr., F, Wichita, Kan.).

The Opponent

   UNI head coach Ben Jacobson (North Dakota, 1994) is 141-83 in his seventh season with the Panthers and overall.  He returns four starters and 12 lettermen from a 20-14 club that went 1-1 in the NIT last year after tying for third place in the MVC.
 Anthony James (Sr., G, St. Louis, Mo.) leads a cast of four Panthers who average double figures in scoring with 12.4 points and 3.6 rebounds per game. 2012 Valley Freshman of the Year Seth Tuttle (So., F, Sheffield, Iowa) averages 10.9 points and a team-high 6.1 rebounds.
 UNI is 10-2 at home this season, including a 4-2 mark at the McLeod Center in Valley play, and is coming off a 67-62 home win over No. 15 Wichita State on Saturday that snapped a two-game league skid.  The Panthers knocked down 8 3-pointers against the Shockers, blocked 7 shots and collected 10 second-chance points

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