Bears Finalize Non-Conference Basketball Schedule
 
JQH Arena, Home of the MSU Bears
 
JQH Arena, Home of the MSU Bears
 

Aug. 15, 2012

SPRINGFIELD -- With the final pieces falling into place earlier this week, Missouri State University has finalized the non-conference portion of its 2012-13 men's basketball schedule, head coach Paul Lusk announced Wednesday (Aug. 15).

 The Bears will play host to six non-league foes this winter, plus two additional exhibition games at JQH Arena and the full slate of nine Missouri Valley Conference opponents.  The MVC is expected to release its slate for the upcoming campaign later this month.

 “I like our non-conference schedule," Lusk said. "It presents some good challenges for us against some great programs, and I think the balance of teams we play will help get us ready for the grind of The Valley schedule."

 The Bears will open the preseason on Oct. 30 with a Tuesday night exhibition game against Missouri Western. The Bears will then host McKendree University in the other preseason contest on Saturday, Nov. 3. The pair of Division II foes are coming off seasons from opposite ends of the spectrum with the Griffons posting a 9-17 ledger last season, and the Bearcats from the GLVC going 18-12.

 The regular-season will begin on Friday, Nov. 9 with a visit from Philander Smith College from Little Rock, Ark. The NAIA Panthers were 15-15 last winter and posted an 8-6 conference mark in the GCAC.


 

 

 The season kicks into gear the following weekend with a visit from San Diego State in the annual Mountain West-Missouri Valley Conference Challenge. The Aztecs were an NCAA Tournament team in 2012 and posted a 26-8 record after bowing out to North Carolina State in the second round.

 Two days later, the Bears continue a four-game home stand the first of two home contests in the Hoops for Hope Classic. MSU will host Jacksonville on Nov. 19 and Alcorn State on Nov. 21 in the opening rounds of the event, which continues in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. The JU Dolphins were 8-22 last year, and the Braves of Alcorn State were 10-22.

 Coach Lusk's troops will battle SEC foe South Carolina in the semifinals of the Hoops for Hope event on Sat., Nov. 24 in Mexico. The next day, the Bears will take on either Southern Methodist or Arkansas-Little Rock for first or third place.  The Bears are the only team in the Mexico portion of the event who finished .500 or better last season. South Carolina was 10-21 a year ago, including a 1-12 mark away from home, while SMU was 13-19, and UALR was 15-16.

 December gets underway with a visit from Oral Roberts on Dec. 1. The Golden Eagles were 29-7 last year -- including a 68-63 win over the Bears in Tulsa -- and 17-1 in the Summit League. The Golden Eagles' bit to make the NCAA Tournament fell short in 2012, but they landed in the NIT where they fell to Nevada in the opening round.

 The Oklahoma theme continues Dec. 5 and 8 with trips to Tulsa and Oklahoma State, respectively. The Bears beat the Golden Hurricane in overtime, 69-64, last season, while UT finished 17-14 overall. OSU is coming off a 15-18 year that included an 11-4 record at Gallagher-Iba Arena. The Bears and Cowboys are closing out a three-year series.

 The club's last non-conference home game of the year is set for Dec. 15 against Valparaiso in a return game from the 2011 BracketBusters. The Crusaders, who return to Springfield for the first time since 1990, were also an NIT team last year and finished 22-12 after falling to Miami (Fla.) in the first round.

 The Bears will close out the non-conference slate with an extended road trip on Dec. 18 and 22 to Alabama A&M and New Mexico State, respectively. The Bulldogs of the SWAC were 7-21 last year, while the Aggies posted a 26-10 record, including a 14-3 mark at home, en route to an NCAA Tournament appearance.

 “We're looking forward to another exciting non-conference schedule," Lusk explained. "Our fans will get to see some new faces at JQH Arena, including San Diego State which is coming off an NCAA Tournament run and will likely be picked to win the Mountain West. ORU won 29 games last year and is always competitive, and Valparaiso has just about everybody back on a team that should make a run for the Horizon League championship."

 Missouri State will also play a road game in the Sears BracketBusters event Feb. 22-24. The pairings for the BracketBusters are due out in early February.

 Game times are subject to change, and some times will be announced at a later date. Missouri State season tickets, which start at just $240, include 17 home contests, including the nine MVC games and two exhibition games. Season ticket information is available now by calling (417) 836-7678.

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