Bears Prepare for Tuesday Night War with Red-Hot Northern Iowa at JQH
 
Forward - Christian Kirk
 
Forward - Christian Kirk
 

Feb. 18, 2013

 |  MSU Game Notes (PDF)  |  Northern Iowa Game Notes (PDF)

Missouri State Bears (8-19, 6-9) vs. Northern Iowa (16-11, 9-6)

The Last Meeting
Missouri State37
Northern Iowa48
February 5, 2013
Cedar Falls, Iowa
UNI Prevails Over Bears, 48-37, in Valley Defensive Battle
A 14-2 run by home standing Northern Iowa (13-11, 6-6) midway through the second half proved to be the difference as the Panthers held off Missouri State, 48-37, in a Missouri Valley Conference defensive dog fight at McLeod Center.


Feb. 19, 2013, JQH Arena (11,000), Springfield, Mo., 7:05 p.m. (CT)


 

 

The Ten Count

  • MSU’s “Super Six” are just 11 points away from breaking the program record for freshman scoring (735), set in 1963-64.  Danny Bolden (13.6 ppg) led that 1963-64 squad, which advanced to the NCAA Division II title game three years later.
  • The Bears rank 14th nationally in freshman scoring percentage (44.9) and 18th in freshman points (724).
  • Marcus Marshall (Fr., G, St. Paul, Minn.) leads all Valley freshmen in scoring (10.4 ppg), while Gavin Thurman (Fr., F, Wichita, Kan) ranks fourth (7.9). The tandem is just 41 points shy of becoming MSU’s top-scoring freshman pair ever.
  • With a win tonight, Missouri State (7-6) can clinch a winning home record for the 42nd straight season.
  • UNI’s Mark Sonnen (Sr., G, St. Paul, Minn.) ranks 5th nationally in 3-point pct. (.466) and 62nd in makes/game (2.52).
  • Christian Kirk (Jr., F, Springfield, Mo.) averaged 13.5 points in two games last week and has scored in double figures in four of the Bears’ last six games, all off the bench.
  • As of Monday, the Bears rank 6th nationally in turnovers per game (10.4), tops in the MVC and up one spot from last week. The Bears have committed 10 or fewer turnovers in 8 straight games and 15-of-27 overall this season.
  • Gavin Thurman (Fr., F, Wichita, Kan.) needs 3 points to become MSU’s 15th freshman to score 200 in a season.
  • Saturday’s Ramada Worldwide BracketBusters game at Eastern Michigan has been changed to an 11 a.m. (CT) start.
  • Six MSU players are averaging 7.7 points per game or better in home conference games this year, led by Anthony Downing (15.3), Marcus Marshall (12.8) and Keith Pickens (8.7). MSU is shooting .434 from the field in those 7 games.

Setting the Stage

  Missouri State will be looking for its fourth straight home win and a chance to climb back into the mix in the Valley standings on Tuesday (7:05 p.m.) when the Bears entertain red-hot Northern Iowa on a White Out night at JQH Arena.
    The Bears are averaging 69.0 points per game during their three-game home win streak and have gotten 15.0 points per game in those games from the Valley’s top freshman scorer, Marcus Marshall (G, St. Paul, Minn.).  Marshall has scored 19 points in two of his last three games overall and enters the week with 17 straight free throws made. The Bears have also gotten a hot hand of late from Anthony Downing (Sr., G, Atchison, Kan.) who posted 20 points in Saturday night’s 62-54 loss at Southern Illinois.
 UNI is on a league-best five-game win streak as it comes to Springfield. The Panthers are 3-1 all-time at JQH Arena, the best of any Valley foe, and are 4-5 in away games this season. Ben Jacobson’s club has five players averaging 9.7 points per game or better, including St. Louis native Anthony James (12.4 ppg).

Head Coach Paul Lusk

Paul Lusk (Southern Illinois, 1995) is 24-35 (.407) in his second season at MSU and 26-58 (.310) in his third season overall as a head coach.  He is 15-18 in the MVC games (9-7 at home, 6-11 on the road) and 9-16 in non-conference play (6-6 at JQH Arena, 3-6 away and 0-5 at neutral sites).  He is also 15-13 in all home games, 9-17 on the road, and 0-5 at neutral sites. He is 1-2 vs. UNI (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 CollegeSportsMadness.com MVC Coach of the Year.

The Series

  Missouri State leads the all-time series with the Panthers, 40-24, a rivalry that dates back to 1983.
 UNI has won three of the last five meetings with four of the last six ball games between the club being decided by a single point.  MSU is 21-9 all-time against UNI in Springfield (1-3 at JQH).
 In the most-recent meeting (Feb. 5, 2013) in Cedar Falls, the Bears finished with their lowest offensive output ever in Valley play and fewest points overall since Jan. 14, 1952 in a 48-37 loss. Anthony Downing (Sr., G, Atchison, Kan.) tallied 9 points for the maroons with Dorrian Williams (RFr., G, Oklahoma City, Okla.) and Christian Kirk (So., F, Springfield, Mo.) adding 8 apiece. The Bears committed just 6 turnovers and held UNI to 16 field goals, but could not overcome a UNI 14-2 run midway through the second half.
 Anthony Downing (3g, 11.0 ppg) is the Bears’ active scoring leader against the Panthers.

The Opponent

   UNI head coach Ben Jacobson (North Dakota, 1994) is 144-83 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 three Panthers who average double figures in scoring with 12.4 points and 3.8 rebounds per game. 2012 Valley Freshman of the Year Seth Tuttle (So., F, Sheffield, Iowa) averages 10.93 points and 6.0 rebounds, while Jake Koch (Sr., F, Ashwaubenon, Wis.) is posting 10.4 points and 6.4 boards per contest.
 UNI is 4-5 on the road this season, but has reeled off two straight away wins since a 54-51 loss at Evansville on Jan. 29. The Panthers topped Drake on Saturday, 71-64, with James and Marc Sonnen (Sr., G, St. Paul, Minn.) scoring 17 points apiece, including 5 3-pointers by Sonnen
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