Missouri State Opens 2013 Valley Tournament Thursday Against Salukis

March 5, 2013

 MSU Valley Tournament Notes (PDF)  |  MVC Tournament Bracket (PDF)

#7 Missouri State Bears (10-21, 7-11) vs. #10 SIU (14-16, 6-12)

March 7, 2013, Scottrade Center (20,948), St. Louis, Mo., 8:35 p.m. (CT)

The Ten Count

  • In 22 previous MVC Tournaments, the Bears are 26-21 (.553) with 8 trips to the finals and 14 semifinal appearances.
  • MVC Freshman of the Year Marcus Marshall (Fr., G, St. Paul, Minn.) leads all MVC freshmen in scoring (10.8 ppg), while Gavin Thurman (Fr., F, Wichita, Kan) ranks fourth (7.1). The tandem recently surpassed the 1996-97 pair of Kevin Ault (286) and William Fontleroy (222) as MSU’s top-scoring freshman combo ever.
  • All-MVC Honorable Mention pick Anthony Downing (Sr., G, Atchison, Kan.) is MSU’s leader in scoring, rebounds, assists, steals and minutes. He has registered 41 double-figure scoring games in two seasons with the Bears.
  • MSU ranks 5th nationally in turnovers (10.2), the top per-game average in MSU history and best in the MVC this yr.
  • Keith Pickens (Jr., F, St. Louis, Mo.) has led the Bears in rebounding in 6 of the last 9 games. His 5.3 caroms average in Valley games ranks 11th among all MVC players. On March 1, he announced he will retire at the end of this season.
  • Dorrian Williams (RFr., G, Okla. City, Okla.) needs one 3-pointer for 20 this season. No MSU team has ever boasted five players with 20 or more 3-pointers in the same season, although eight teams have had four (most recent 2010-11).
  • Christian Kirk (Jr., F, Springfield, Mo.) has scored in double figures in six of the Bears’ last 10 games and is averaging 10.3 points in that span with 4 consecutive starts.  He has more than doubled his scoring total from last year.
  • Downing needs 6 points to reach 800 for his career, a feat achieved by just 44 MSU players and 10 two-year players.
  • Missouri State is 4-4 against SIU at Arch Madness, but the Bears have won three in a row vs. the Salukis in St. Louis.
  • Only Creighton (.667) and Illinois State (.578) have better winning percentages at Arch Madness than MSU (.553).

Head Coach Paul Lusk

Paul Lusk (Southern Illinois, 1995) is 26-37 (.413) in his second season at MSU and 28-60 (.318) in his third season overall as a head coach.  He is 16-20 in MVC games (10-7 at home, 6-13 on the road), 0-1 in MVC Tournament games and 10-17 in non-conference play (6-6 at JQH Arena, 4-6 away and 0-5 at neutral sites).  He is also 16-14 in all home games, 10-18 on the road, and 0-5 at neutral sites. He is 3-1 against SIU with (2-0 at home, 1-1 away, 0-0 at neutral sites).
 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

  MSU has won seven of the last eight meetings in a series that dates back to 1957. The Salukis still lead the all-time series, 39-33, but the Bears have won three straight Valley Tournament meetings and are 4-4 all-time in St. Louis vs. SIU in the MVC tourney.
 In the Valley opener for both clubs on Dec. 30, the Bears shot 54.1 percent from the field to snap an eight-game losing streak and improve to 20-3 all-time in MVC openers.  A 17-2 run by the Bears early in the second half made the difference as Anthony Downing (Sr., G, Atchison, Kan.) tallied 16 points, and Nathan Scheer (Jr., G/F, Washington, Mo.) scored 15 on a 5-for-5 effort from beyond the arc.  
 In the most-recent meeting on Feb. 16 in Carbondale, the Bears cut a 31-22 halftime deficit to one with a 10-2 run to start the second half.  But SIU had an answer when it counted and rallied for a 62-54 win. The Bears got 20 points from Downing and 8 rebounds from Keith Pickens (Jr., F, St. Louis, Mo.) on the night.

Marshall is Valley Freshman of the Year

   Marcus Marshall (Fr., G, St. Paul, Minn.) was named Tuesday (March 5) as the 2013 Missouri Valley Conference Freshman of the Year and member of the MVC All-Newcomer Team.  He becomes just the second Bears player, along with Blake Ahearn (2004), to earn the Valley’s top freshman honor.  
 He leads all Missouri Valley freshman players with 10.8 points per game and is just 21 points shy of Ahearn’s MSU freshman scoring record (346), set in 2003-04

Downing Earns All-MVC HM Distinction

   Anthony Downing (Sr., G, Atchison, Kan.) earned All-MVC honorable mention honors this week, his second postseason honor from the Valley in as many seasons.  An MVC All-Newcomer Team member and four-time MVC Newcomer of the Week last season, Downing upped his scoring average to a team-best 13.7 points per game this year, while leading the Bears in rebounds, steals, assists and minutes. He has scored in double-figures 21 times this season and led the Bears in scoring 17 games. 

Television Clearances for Thursday's Game

   FOX Sports Midwest -- Cannot clear the telecast on the main channel due to contractual obligations to St. Louis Blues, but the game will be cleared on FOX Sports Midwest Plus -- the channel used by FOX Sports Midwest when it simultaneously shows multiple events – and on the main channel of FOX Sports Midwest in the state of Iowa.  FOX Sports Midwest Plus can be found on Cable America-Maryland Heights and Republic – Channel 12; Cable America-St. Robert – Channel 7; Cable One-Joplin -- Channel 78; Cable One-Kirksville – Channel 3; Cable One-Iowa – Channel 9; CenturyLink-Columbia – Channel 32; Charter-Missouri – Channels 10, 90, 94, 223 or 224; City of Poplar – Channel 2; Comcast-Independence and Olathe – Channel 261 or 925; Consolidated-Illlinois – 181; Fidelity-Rolla – Channel 95; Fidelity-Sullivan – Channel 95; HomeTel-Illinois – Channel 3; Knology-Lawrence – Channel 172; Madison-Illinois – Channel 8; Mediacom-Columbia/Springfield – Channel 126; Mediacom-Illinois – Channel 8; New Wave-various Missouri cities – Channel 21 or check locally; Suddenlink-Boonville – Channel 59; Suddenlink-Branson – Channel 18; Suddenlink-Carthage and Monett – Channel 10; Suddenlink-Nixa – Channel 3; Suddenlink-St. Joseph – Channel 64; Surewest – Channel 22; Time-Warner – Channels 5, 310 or 313.
FOX Sports Indiana -- Live at 8:30 p.m. Central.
FOX Sports Kansas City (outside St. Louis Blues viewing area) -- Live at 8:30 p.m. Central.
FOX College Sports (Central) – Live at 8:30 p.m. Central.
Comcast SportsNet Chicago -- Live at 8:30 p.m. Central.
ESPN3 – Live at 8:30 p.m. Central outside the states of Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska.
DirecTV -- Live at 8:30 p.m. Central on channel 675 (FOX Sports Midwest).
Dish Network -- Live at 8:30 p.m. Central on channel 448 (FOX Sports Midwest).
AT&T U-Verse -- Live at 8:30 p.m. Central on channel 691 (FOX Sports Midwest).. 



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