Bears to Entertain No. 23 San Diego State at JQH Arena in Saturday Matinee



Nov. 14, 2012

Missouri State Bears (1-0) vs. #23 San Diego State Aztecs (1-1)

November 17, 2012, JQH Arena (11,000), Springfield, Mo.

2012-13 Missouri State GameDay Guide  |  Tickets  |  Visitors Guide

The Last Meeting
San Diego State74
Missouri State70
March 14, 2007
Springfield, Mo.

The Ten Count

  • Missouri State's six freshmen combined for 55 points, 31 rebounds and 116 minutes in last Friday's season opener.
  • The Bears are 6-20 all-time against ranked Division I opponents, including a 1-2 mark under Paul Lusk, an 0-2 mark at JQH Arena and 1-7 mark all-time at home.
  • MSU head coach Paul Lusk is gunning for career win No. 20.
  • Now in their fifth season at JQH Arena, the Bears are 53-18 (.746) all-time at the 11,000-seat facility.
  • Over the last two seasons, the Bears have committed just 10.45 turnovers per game (700 turnovers in 67 games), the seventh-best average among all Division I teams in that span.
  • Against Philander Smith, Drew Wilson (Fr., Tulsa, Okla.) became the first MSU freshman to record a double-double since Kyle Weems (four times) in 2008-09. The last MSU player to secure a double-double in a season opener was Dale Lamberth (11/10/07 at Toledo).
  • The Bears and Aztecs last met in the 2007 NIT at Hammons Student Center, a 74-70 SDSU win.
  • The Bears knocked down 9 three-pointers in their season opener, matching their 2011-12 season high.
  • MSU senior Anthony Downing was an MVC All-Newcomer selection last year and four-time Newcomer of the Week.
  • Since the 2009-10 season, MSU is 44-10 (.815) at JQH Arena with 9-of-10 losses by single digits.

Head Coach Paul Lusk

 Paul Lusk (Southern Illinois, 1995) is 17-16 (.515) in his second season at MSU and 19-39 (.328) in his third season overall as a head coach.  He is 8-7 in non-conference play (5-2 at JQH Arena), 9-7 in home games, 1-2 vs. ranked opponents, 8-6 on the road, and 0-3 at neutral sites. He has never coached against SDSU.

 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 as a player at SIU.

 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

 The Bears and Aztecs have split the previous four meetings, including a 74-70 SDSU win over the Bears at Hammons Student Center in the first round of the 2007 NIT (3/14/07) in the most-recent matchup.

 Deven Mitchell (16), Blake Ahearn (15) and Drew Richards (15) were all key players for MSU, which forced 23 turnovers. However, SDSU shot 51.9 percent from the field and got 26 points from Brandon Heath to advance.

 The teams also met three times before the Bears' Division I era began. MSU beat the Aztecs, 76-61, in San Diego (12/6/51) and held serve at McDonald Arena on 12/17/66 with a 73-63 victory. The following season (12/2/67), SDSU scored a 70-67 win in San Diego.

The Opponent

   The Aztecs of Coach Steve Fisher are 1-1 on the young season after playing their season opener against Syracuse aboard the USS Midway in San Diego. SDSU shot just 27 percent from the field and 5.6 percent from 3-point range in a 62-49 loss which dropped them to No. 23 in the ESPN/USA Today Poll and to No. 25 in the AP poll.

 SDSU bounced back with a 91-57 victory on Tuesday against San Diego Christian at the Aztec Bowl. Jamaal Franklin's 28 points led all scorers as San Diego State forced 24 turnovers and shot 50.8 percent from the field in the one-sided victory.

 Fisher's troops have won back-to-back Mountain West titles and has played in three straight NCAA Tournaments. The Aztecs return four starters from a 26-8 team.

   San Diego State is one of only three opponents -- along with Southern Illinois and Davidson -- to beat the Bears at home in the NIT. Missouri State is 9-3 all-time in postseason NIT home contests.

Mountain West-Missouri Valley Challenge

   Today's game kicks off the fourth annual Mountain West-Missouri Valley Challenge. Missouri State is 1-1 all-time in the series with a 58-48 home win over Air Force (12/5/09) and a 76-60 road loss at New Mexico (12/3/11) on its ledger.

 San Diego State is 2-1 in the series with a 2009 win over Drake, a 2010 victory over Wichita State and last year's loss 85-83 loss to Creighton.

 The Challenge is tied 1-1-1 as it enters its fourth run. The MVC won in 2009 by a 5-4 count, while the Mountain West dominated the 2010 series, 8-1. Last year, the leagues split, 4-4. In total games, the MWC leads 16-10.

 This year's Challenge runs from Nov. 17 to Dec. 19 with nine games on tap. The next teams to play in the series will be Boise State at Creighton, and Fresno State at Southern Illinois, both on Nov. 28.


The Last Meeting
San Diego State74
Missouri State70
March 14, 2007
Springfield, Mo.



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