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Hispanic College Fund Challenge Set for This Weekend at JQH Arena





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.Friday-Sunday, Nov. 20-22, JQH Arena (11,000), Springfield, Mo.

.Schedule / Information: 

  • Friday, Nov. 20
    Game 1 - Eastern Michigan vs. Citadel, 5:30 p.m. . STATS
    Game 2 - Maryland Eastern Shore vs. Missouri State, 8:05 p.m. . STATS
  • Saturday, Nov. 21
    Game 3 - Maryland Eastern Shore vs. Eastern Michigan, 5:30 p.m. . STATS
    Game 4 - Citadel vs. Missouri State, 8:05 p.m. . STATS
  • Sunday, Nov. 22
    Game 5 - Citadel vs. Maryland Eastern Shore, 5:30 p.m. . STATS
    Game 6 - Eastern Michigan vs. Missouri State, 8:05 p.m. . STATS
  • FINAL STANDINGS: 1. Missouri State (3-0); 2. Citadel (2-1); 3. Eastern Michigan (1-2); 4. UMES (0-3).

 The Event: After a thrilling 73-62 win over Auburn in the Bears' 2009-10 season opener on Monday, Missouri State hosts Maryland Eastern Shore (0-2), The Citadel (1-1), and Eastern Michigan (1-0) this weekend for the Hispanic College Fund Challenge.

  With the win over Auburn, the Bears improved to 27-1 in home openers during their Division I era and recorded a home win over an SEC opponent for the second year in a row. Adam Leonard (6-1, Jr., G, Lee's Summit, Mo.) led the Bears with 14 points, while Kyle Weems (6-6, So., F, Topeka, Kan.) added 13 points, and Jermaine Mallett (6-3, Jr., G/F, Jackson, Miss.) had 12 points, 8 rebounds and 6 assists.

The Series: Missouri State has never played UMES, The Citadel or Eastern Michigan in men's basketball.

The Coaches: Missouri State head coach Cuonzo Martin (Purdue, 2000) is 12-20 (.375) overall and 10-8 (.556) at JQH Arena in his second season at MSU and overall. He has never coached or played against any of this weekend's foes. He is 1-0 against MAC schools with last year's 60-57 win at Central Michigan (11/17/08) and is 1-0 against MEAC schools with a 75-66 victory over Norfolk State (12/20/08) in Springfield.

 Martin spent eight seasons as an assistant coach and associate head coach at Purdue (2000-08) where he was a standout performer for coach Gene Keady from 1991-95. He became MSU's 16th head basketball coach on April 1, 2008.

 Martin (38) played professional basketball for four years, including two stops with the Milwaukee Bucks and one with the Vancouver Grizzlies of the NBA. He spent most of his professional playing time in the Continental Basketball Association and in Europe, leading Grand Rapids in scoring three seasons and leading the Felize Scandone team in Avellino, Italy in 1997. Originally from East St. Louis, Ill., he scored 20 points against the Bears as a Purdue player on 12/22/92 and helped Purdue to a 4-0 mark against MSU as a player and coach.

 UMES head coach Frankie Allen (Roanoke, 1971) is 230-319 in his 21st season overall and is 7-25 in his second season with the Fighting Hawks. He is 0-1 against the Bears with a previous trip to Springfield for the 1992 Price Cutter Classic while coaching Tennessee State ... The Citadel sideline boss Ed Conroy (Citadel, 1989) is 75-100 in his seventh season overall and 34-61 in his fourth season with the Bulldogs ... Eastern Michigan's Charles E. Ramsey (Eastern Michigan, 1992) is 43-81 in his sixth season as a collegiate coach and overall.

The Ten Count: Ten Missouri State quick facts relating to today's game:

  • The Bears remain without the services of starting point guard Justin Fuehrmeyer, who entered the 2009-10 season as the Missouri Valley Conference's active leader in assists (231) and fourth among all active MVC players in steals (81). He is the only senior on this year's MSU squad and has started 49 games at Missouri State.
  • Freshman Michael Porter underwent an emergency appedenctemy on Nov. 11 and will miss up to four weeks.
  • The Bears return three starters from 2008-09, including MVC All-Freshman pick Kyle Weems (10.2 ppg, 4.9 rpg), Cardell McFarland (6.9 ppg, 1.6 rpg), and Justin Fuehrmeyer (4.7 ppg, 2.0 rpg).
  • Adam Leonard's 14 points against Auburn on Monday matched Cardell McFarland for the most points in a Missouri State debut under Cuonzo Martin. McFarland scored 14 at Auburn (11/14/08) in his debut last season.
  • Missouri State's 19 assists vs. Auburn (11/16/09) was a new JQH Arena record.
  • The Bears are 211-115 (.647) on Saturdays over the last 27 seasons.
  • Kyle Weems enters this weekend's tournament with starts in 12 straight games. He has scored in double figures 10 times and averaged 12.3 points per game during that span.
  • The Bears are 38-7 all-time in home, regular-season tournaments, including the Price Cutter Classic (1987-2007).
  • A six-player All-Tournament Team, including the tourney MVP, will be announced after Sunday's final game.
  • Including Monday's season opener, the Bears have led or been tied at halftime in 19 of their last 31 games (12-7).

Dunk-O-Meter: After the season opener, Missouri State's season dunk total is now 5.  

Last Outing: The Bears improved to 27-1 in home openers during their Division I era (1982-present) and beat an SEC opponent at JQH Arena for the second straight season with a 73-62 win over Auburn. The Bears overcame a seven-point deficit midway through the first half with solid defense and a hot hand from newcomer Adam Leonard (Jr., G, Lee's Summit, Mo.) who scored a team-high 14 points, including 4-of-7 from three-point range.

 Fellow newcomer Jermaine Mallett (Jr., G/F, Jackson, Miss.) had 12 points and game highs with 8 rebounds and 6 assists, while Kyle Weems (So., F, Topeka, Kan.) added 13 points.

 After trailing 18-11, Missouri State stormed back with a 21-6 run over the next five minutes to turn the tides. Reserves Isaiah Rhine (So., C, Versailles, Mo.), Cardell McFarland (So., G, Evansville, Ind.) and Ryan Jehle (Jr., F, Overland Park, Kan.) led the charge to pull MSU within six, 22-16, at the 7:17 mark. Then a three-pointer by Leonard and a dunk by Rhine started a 10-0 run for the Bears that included a trey by Kyle Weems at the 5:30 mark to give MSU a 26-22 advantage en route to a 36-31 halftime lead.

 A bucket by Nafis Ricks (Jr., G, Philadelphia, Pa.) at the 14:13 mark of the second half gave the Bears a 10-point advantage, and the Tigers would get no closer than seven the rest of the way. Although the Bears did not make a field goal in the final 2:31, Leonard hit a pair of three-pointers in the final six minutes to seal the victory.

 Missouri State forced Auburn into a JQH Arena record 25 turnovers in the contest.

The Field: Maryland-Eatern Shore returns two starters from a 7-23 squad of a year ago. Coach Frankie Allen's Fighting Hawks toppled Stony Brook, 75-57, in their opener last Friday, before falling at Marquette, 86-60, Tuesday night in Milwaukee. Hillary Haley (6-6, So., G) scored a team-high 22 points against Marquette, while newcomer Mark Robertson (6-5, Fr., G/F) added 15.

 The Citadel slammed Kenyon College in their season opener last Friday, 64-45, before a narrow 61-60 loss to Charleston Southern on Tuesday. Joe Wolfinger (7-0, Sr., C) scored a game-high 20 points against Kenyon to go with 12 rebounds and a 9-for-12 shooting effort, while Cameron Wells (6-1, Jr., G) added 11 points and 3 assists. Wells dropped 23 points on Charleston Southern on a 10-for-16 shooting night for coach Ed Conroy's Bulldogs. The Citadel was 20-13 a year ago and returns three starters who played in the 2009 postseason CIT event.

 Eastern Michigan was an 81-77 winner over Oakland in its 2009-10 debut last Saturday. Four Eagles were in double-figures, including Brandon Bowdry (6-6, Jr., F) who posted 26 points and 13 rebounds in the win. Coach Charles E. Ramsey has four starters back from an 8-24 squad.

On the Radio: All Missouri State games can be heard on KTXR, Springfield (101.3 FM), the flagship station of the Missouri State Bears Basketball Radio Network. Play-by-play man Art Hains will provide the game description, while former standout Mike Keltner (1971-74) will provide color commentary for most of the games throughout the season.

 Hains first began calling Bears action in 1977 and is in his second stint and 29th season overall as the Voice of the Bears. He called MSU games from 1977 to 1981 and returned to the mic in 1985. This weekend's three games will increase Art's total to 856 Missouri State basketball broadcasts.

 MSU basketball can also be heard on the eight-station MSU Bears Basketball Radio Network (see sidebar), in addition to live audio streaming on www.RadioSpringfield.com.

Milestones: Kyle Weems (So., F, Topeka, Kan.) needs one double-figure scoring game for 20 in his career ... Justin Fuehermeyer (Sr., G, St. Charles, Mo.) needs 8 points for 400 career ... Fuehrmeyer needs 19 assists for 250 career ... Fuehrmeyer needs 3 rebounds for 150 career ... Will Creekmore (Jr., F/C, Tulsa, Okla.) needs 7 points for 200 total in his collegiate career (including Boston U.) ... Creekmore needs 8 rebounds for 150 career ... Adam Leonard (Jr., G, Lee's Summit, Mo.) needs 7 steals for 100 career (including Eastern Ky.) ... Leonard needs 17 three-pointers for 200 in his career ... Leonard needs 18 assists for 200 for his career ... Isaiah Rhine (So., C, Versailles, Mo.) needs 11 points for 50 in his career.

Following the Game On-Line: MissouriStateBears.com will provide fans around the world with a number of opportunities to view this weekend's tournament. The "Fan Central" link on the site has links for Live Stats, On-Demand Video (Bears Live!), and the GameDay Guide. Final Stats are available on the Men's Basketball page on the www.MissouriStateBears.com site by going to the Schedule/Results link.

 Links for tickets, game notes, and the GameDay Guide can also be found in this area. The Missouri State Twitter page can be found at www.Twitter.com/MissouriStBears, and live audio on-line at www.RadioSpringfield.com.

Up Next: The Bears conclude the month of November with their fifth straight home game when they host Tulsa on Saturday, Nov. 28 at 7:05 p.m. The Bears then embark on their first road game of the season at Arkansas-Little Rock on December 2, before returning home for a pair of games against Air Force (Dec. 5) and UT Martin (Dec. 9).

Building the Program: On Wednesday, Nov. 11, Missouri State head coach Cuonzo Martin announced the receipt of National Letters of Intent from two high school prospects for the 2010-11 season. A third player committed to play for the Bears on Nov. 12.

 Committing to Missouri State were:

  • Nathan Scheer (6-5, 200, F, Washington, Mo., St. Francis Borgia High)
  • Corey Copeland (6-3, 180, G, Fort Smith, Ark., Northside High)
  • Aaron Cooper (5-11, 170, G, Jacksonville, Ark., North Pulaski High)

 Scheer, a student with a 3.95 grade-point average, was a consensus Missouri Class 4 All-State pick last season. He helped lead coach Dave Neier's St. Francis Borgia High School to a 28-3 overall record and Missouri state title last season after averaging 15.9 points and 5.0 rebounds per game as a prep junior. He also led Borgia in scoring and rebounding as a sophomore with a 17.1 scoring average to go with 5.7 rebounds. An inside/outside threat, he showed good range with 41 three-pointers last season, while posting 60 assists and 44 steals and making good on 53-percent of his field goal attempts.

 Copeland helped his Fort Smith (Ark.) Northside squad to the Arkansas Class 7A quarterfinals last season, earning All-State honors and earning a spot on the State All-Tournament Team. He averaged 15.2 points per game and led his team in field goal percentage. He holds a 3.4 grade-point average and is considered an athletic player with outstanding leaping and shooting abilities. Martin calls Copeland a slasher who can make shots and play three different positions.

 Cooper averaged 18.0 points and 4.1 assists as a prep junior a year ago at North Pulaski (Ark.) High. He made 82-percent of his free throws and knocked down 53-percent of his three-point field goal attempts. He is a reputable defender who uses his quickness to create offense, and has a great instinct for the game. Martin says Cooper has the potential to be a great on-ball defender which complements his skills as a scoring point guard. His father, Raymond, is also Cooper's high school and AAU coach.

Where Are They Now?: Blake Ahearn (2004-07) is playing in Spain for MMT Estudiantes Madrid. Through five games with the club, he is averaging 12.4 points, 1.2 rebounds, and 26.0 minutes per game. He is 12-for-30 (.400) from three-point range. The NCAA all-time free throw leader is 20-for-21 (.952) at the charity stripe. Ahearn spent the bulk of the 2008-09 season with the Dakota Wizards of the NBA Development League where he was co-MVP of the NBA D-League All-Star Game after claiming league's Rookie of the Year honors. Ahearn had stints with the NBA's San Antonio Spurs and Miami Heat during the most recent two seasons.

Deven Mitchell (2004-08) is playing for the CS Gaz Metan Medias squad in the Romanian League. He is averaging 12.8 points and 5.3 rebounds per game through eight games while making 54.1 percent of his field goal attempts.

 Shelton Colwell (2003-04) is active in Austria, averaging 17.3 points and 6.5 rebounds through the first four games of the season for the BSC Raiffeisen Fursten feld Panthers.

 Other former MSU players active in Europe last season were: Dale Lamberth (2006-08) who played five games in 2008-09 with UU-Korihait Uusikaupunki in Finland, averaring 6.0 points and 2.0 rebounds in limited playing time; Drew Richards (2005-08) who saw 15 games playing for Erdgas Ehingen/Urspringschule in Germany with 3.9 scoring and 6.7 rebounding averages. Other players will be added and updated in future game notes throughout the season.

Preseason Valley Poll: The Bears were picked ninth in the MVC preseason poll, marking just the fourth time since the Bears joined the league in 1990-91 that they have been picked to finish in the lower division of the 10-team conference.

 The poll was released on October 27 and includes votes from the league's head coaches, sports information directors, radio broadcasters and beat writers. The Bears were also picked in the MVC's preseason poll as lower-division finishers in 1995-96, 2002-03, and 2008-09.

Home Attendance: In 2008-09, the Bears eclipsed 100,000 fans (121,502) for the 17th time in the last 24 seasons. The team's final home avearge of 7,147 in 17 games at JQH Arena was the second-best home average for Missouri State this decade and 15th best all-time. The team's 2008-09 net attendance ranked No. 6 all-time at MSU.

 The Bears also improved to fourth in the Missouri Valley Conference in home attendance avarage after finishing sixth in 2007-08, and were Division I basketball's 20th most-improved program in home attendance in 2008-09.

 The Bears have been ranked between 55th and 90th among Division I programs in home attendance in 16 of the last 22 seasons, including a national ranking of 75 in 2008-09.

 The Bears are averaging 7,213 fans per game this season.

Debut of the Q: With a $30-million gift from Missouri State alumnus and Springfield-based hotel developer John Q. Hammons, the long-time dream of a new home for the Missouri State Bears and Lady Bears and an iconic tribute to MSU intercollegiate athletics became a reality last season. JQH Arena features a seating capacity of 11,000, including 50 courtside seats, 24 suites, PRIME Overtime Club, Hall of Fame and Legacy of Competition exhibits, 114 loge seats, 1,363 reserved student bleacher seats and 9,637 chairback seats.

 The Bears defeated Arkansas, 62-57, before a sellout crowd of 10,881 on November 22, 2008 in the inaugural game at JQH Arena. The first opponent to beat MSU in the facility was Utah, 71-58, on November 26, 2008. MSU is 1-0 at JQH Arena in 2009-10.

 MSU finished its inaugural campaign at JQH Arena with a 9-8 home record and an average home attendance of 7,147, ranking 75th among all Division I programs and 20th most-improved from the previous season.

The Program: Missouri State enters the 2009-10 season with the 28th-best all-time win total in NCAA Division I men's basketball and the 17th-best by winning percentage (.642). Currently, the Bears have an all-time record of 1501-835 (.643) in 97 seasons and are 517-318 (.619) since making the move to Division I in 1982-83.

 During its Division I era, MSU has made NCAA Tournament appearances in 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1992, and 1999. With Tournament wins over Wisconsin and Tennessee, the 1999 Bears advanced to the NCAA Sweet 16. The Bears have also appeared in the National Invitation Tournament eight times -- 1986, 1991, 1993, 1997, 2000, 2005, 2006, and 2007. The 1986, 1993 and 2006 squads all reached the NIT quarterfinals.

 The Bears won NAIA national championship titles in 1952 and 1953, while making six NAIA national tournament appearances from 1939-1954. MSU appeared in the NCAA Division II Tournament 10 times, finishing as national runners-up on three occassions -- 1959, 1967, and 1969.

 Missouri State has won 23 conference titles, not including a 1992 Missouri Valley Conference Tournament title.

Missouri State University: Missouri State University is a public, comprehensive university system with a mission in public affairs, whose purpose is to develop educated persons while achieving five goals: democratizing society, incubating new ideas, imagining Missouri's future, making Missouri's future, and modeling ethical and effective behavior.

 With a record enrollment of 22,938 in 2009-10, MSU is the second-largest institution for higher learning in Missouri, and its identity is distinguished by its statewide mission in public affairs. This mission requires a campus-wide commitment to foster competence and responsibility in the common vocation of citizenship. Missouri State University-Springfield is a selective admissions, graduate level teaching and research institution.

 Missouri State competes at the NCAA Division I level and is a member of the Missouri Valley Conference with affiliate membership in the Mid-American Conference for field hockey and men's swimming and diving.

 Notable Missouri State alums include: Ryan Howard (2009 NLCS MVP, first baseman, Philadelphia Phillies), John Goodman (actor), Kathleen Turner (actress), David Glass (owner, Kansas City Royals), John Q. Hammons (businessman, hotel developer), Bob Holden (43rd governor of Missouri), Bill Mueller (2003 American League batting champ), Jackie Stiles (Division I career scoring leader), and Blake Ahearn (NBA D-League MVP and All-Star Game co-MVP).

Parting Shots: The Bears' next two opponents -- Tulsa and Arkansas-Little Rock -- played on ESPN Tuesday in the network's 24-hour marathon basketball coverage. The Golden Hurricane prevailed 59-45. MSU hosts Tulsa next Saturday (7:05 p.m.) before going to UALR on December 2 (7:35 p.m.) ... Isaiah Rhine's 9 points against Auburn was a career high ... MSU has started 4-0 28 times, most recently in 2005-06 and 2006-07. Last year, MSU was 2-2 after four games ... MSU's 6 treys against Auburn were the team's most since hitting 7 at UT Martin (2/21/09).





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