Bears Set for 2012-13 Season Opener Friday Night at JQH
Nov. 8, 2012
Missouri State Bears (0-0) vs. Philander Smith Panthers (1-1)
The Missouri State Bears officially begin the 2012-13 season Friday night (Nov. 8) when they welcome the Philander Smith Panthers to JQH Arena in the first-ever meeting between the two squads.
Missouri State wrapped its two-game exhibition schedule last Saturday night with an 82-54 win over McKendree. The Bears jumped out to a 12-0 lead early in that game and never looked back as Gavin Thurman was once again the Bears’ top point collector with 18 points. Fellow freshman Marcus Marshall scored 15, while returners Christian Kirk (13) and Keith Pickens (12) were also in double figures for the home club with Pickens adding a game-high 8 rebounds.
Thurman was the team’s top scorer in the preseason with 19.5 points per game, while Marcus Marshall added 14.5 points per night. The Bears showed balance and depth throughout the exhibition slate, tossing in 17 3-pointers in the Missouri Western win and forcing 23 turnovers and shot 50 percent from the field in the McKendree victory.
Philander Smith, a transitioning NAIA program from Little Rock, Ark., visits JQH Arena for the first time after splitting its first two regular-season games last week.
The Panthers topped Blue Mountain College in their season debut, 81-70, before falling 97-88 in a heart breaker at Texas College last Friday night.
In the Blue Mountain game, Alvin Nance scored a game-high 37 points and went 6-for-7 from 3-point range to lead the Panthers, while Clayton Busby added 22 points behind six 3-pointers and a 7-for-17 shooting effort.
Coach Sam Weaver’s club returns just two starters from last year’s 16-15 squad that was fourth in the GCAC standings.
MSU is beginning a busy November slate that includes four straight home games to open the season. The Bears entertain San Diego State next Saturday (Nov. 17) before hosting Jacksonville on Nov. 19 and Malone on Nov. 21 in the preliminary rounds of the Hoops for Hope Classic that culminates with two games in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico after Thanksgiving.
Coach Paul Lusk
Paul Lusk (Southern Illinois, 1995) is 16-16 (.500) as he enters his second season at MSU and 18-39 (.316) in his third season overall as a head coach. He is 7-7 in non-conference play (4-2 at JQH Arena), 8-7 in home games, 8-6 on the road, and 0-3 at neutral sites.
Lusk took the reigns as MSU’s 17th head coach on April 1, 2011. He came to Springfield after seven seasons at Purdue (2004-11), including the 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 coached in six of the last nine NCAA Division I Tournaments after playing in three NCAA Tourneys as a player at SIU.
Lusk 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. He has never coached against Philander Smith.
This is the first-ever meeting between the Bears and Philander-Smith in men’s basketball.
Philander Smith and second-year head coach Sam Weaver return two starters from a 16-15 team that finished fourth (8-6) in the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference (NAIA).
The Panthers have split their first two contests of the 2012-13 campaign and come to JQH Arena after a 97-88 home loss to Texas College on Nov. 2. Six-foot-five senior Alvin Nance is averaging 33.0 points per game early in the season for the Panthers after he dropped 37 points on Blue Mountain College in the season opener on Oct. 30.
Senior DaMarkus Lipscomb started 30 games last season and averaged 11.5 points with 33 3-pointers to his credit, while junior Jaron Egbe also collected 30 starts and averaged 6.2 points in 2011-12.