Missouri State Heads South for Puerto Vallarta Portion of Hoops for Hope Classic

Nov. 22, 2012

Missouri State Bears (2-2) vs. South Carolina Gamecocks (3-1)

6 p.m., Nov. 24, International Convention Ctr. (300), Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

Missouri State Bears vs. SMU (5-0) or UALR (3-2)

6/8:30 p.m., Nov. 25, International Convention Ctr. (300), Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

The Last Meeting
Missouri State64
South Carolina77
November 24, 2003
Kansas City, Mo. (Guardians Classic)

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



The Ten Count

  • Missouri State has held three of its first four opponents under 35 percent field goal shooting (.367 defensive FG%).
  • The Bears (2-2) are playing their first games away from JQH Arena this season. MSU has not won a neutral-site game since a 60-50 win over Creighton on March 5, 2011 in the MVC Tournament semifinals in St. Louis (0-4 since).
  • Missouri State's six freshmen account for 46.9 percent of the team's scoring (128-of-273 total points).
  • MSU is averaging just 10.8 turnovers per game and has committed fewer turnovers than all four of its 2012-13 foes.
  • Christian Kirk (So., Springfield, Mo.) has started 17 of the Bears' last 21 games and has scored in double figures in three of the club's last four outings (12.5 ppg in the Hoops for Hope Classic).
  • Anthony Downing (Sr., Atchison, Kan.) has scored in double figures all four games this season and 10 straight games dating back to last season. He was a 2011-12 MVC All-Newcomer Team selection.
  • The Bears shot 32-for-66 (.485) against both of their non-Division I foes this year, Philander Smith and Malone.
  • In his first career start on Wednesday vs. Malone, Marcus Marshall (Fr., St. Paul, Minn.) tallied 15 points, 4 assists.
  • Bruce Marshall (Fr., Fayette, Mo.) had a breakout game vs. Malone, collecting 9 points and 4 boards off the bench.
  • Keith Pickens (Jr., St. Louis, Mo.) is averaging 8.7 points and 6.7 rebounds over his last 3 ball games, all starts..

Head Coach Paul Lusk

  Paul Lusk (Southern Illinois, 1995) is 18-18 (.500) in his second season at MSU and 20-41 (.328) in his third season overall as a head coach.  He is 9-9 in non-conference play (6-4 at JQH Arena), 10-9 in home games, 8-6 on the road, and 0-3 at neutral sites. He has never coached against South Carolina or SMU, but is 1-0 all-time against UALR (1-0 away).
 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 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.

Hoops for Hope Classic

  The Hoops for Hope Classic culminates this weekend with two games to be played at the International Convention Center (300) in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, Nov. 24-25.
 The Bears will play South Carolina on Saturday evening (6:00 p.m.) in one semifinal, while Southern Methodist plays Arkansas-Little Rock in the other semifinal (8:30 p.m.).  The two winners will play in the finals at 8:30 p.m. on Nov. 25 after the semifinal losers play for third place at 6 p.m.
 Jacksonville, Rider and Milwaukee will also play a mini, round-robin tournament in Puerto Vallarta, Nov. 23-25, while Malone will not travel to Mexico after playing MSU and SMU in the preliminary games.
 The tournament supports the National Urea Cycle Disorders Foundation and is organized by PlanBC3, LLC (planbc3.com).  The tournament began last year in New Orleans with Tulane winning the inaugural title over San Diego, while New Orleans defeated Alcorn State for third place.

The Series

  Missouri State is 0-1 all-time against South Carolina, 1-2 against MSU and 6-0 against UALR.
 South Carolina: The only meeting between the Bears and Gamecocks came on Nov. 24, 2003 at the Guardian's Classic at Municipal Auditorium in Kansas City. Hot-shooting USC knocked down 10 3-pointers and overcame a 40-35 rebounding deficit to sink Barry Hinson's MSU team, 77-64. Tommy Johnson scored 25, and Monwell Randle added 15 points and 11 boards for the Bears.
 SMU: The Bears and Mustangs have met three times with SMU owning a 2-1 series lead. The teams met most recently in the 2000 NIT at Hammons Student Center in Springfield. Allen Phillips scored 23, and Scott Brakebill added 19 as MSU advanced with a 77-64 victory on March 16, 2000.
 The other two meetings also took place in Springfield with the Mustangs winning 69-58 on Nov. 29, 1987 and 70-60 on Dec. 4, 1999 in a preview of the NIT matchup later that season.
 Arkansas-Little Rock: The Bears have won all six previous meetings with the Trojans, including the only previous neutral-site matchup in Honolulu in 1986.
 The Bears defeated UALR, 68-60, last year at the Jack Stephens Center in Little Rock as Anthony Downing was 10-for-10 at the line and 4-for-5 from the field to score a game-high 20 points, while the team fired at a .541 clip.  Caleb Patterson (18) and Kyle Weems (14) also pitched in for the win.

The Opponents

   South Carolina (3-1): Frank Martin's Gamecocks return 9 lettermen and 2 starters from a 10-21 team that was 2-14 (12th) in the SEC last season. This year, Michael Carrera (6-5, Fr., F, Rockville, Md.) has team highs in points (17.0) and rebounds (15.0) with 3 blocks. Three other USC players average double figures.
 Southern Methodist (5-0):  Legendary Coach Larry Brown has 6 lettermen and 3 starters back from a club that was 13-19 overall and 4-12 (11th) in the CUSA standings last year. Jalen Jones (6-6, So., G, Dallas, Texas) leads the team with 18.2 points and 7.6 rebounds per outing. The Mustangs have two other double-figure scorers on a team that shoots better than 49 percent from the field.
 UALR (3-2):  Steve Shields has 5 lettermen and 2 starters returning from a 15-16 club that was 12-4 (1st West Div.) in the Sun Belt. The Trojans have reeled off two straight wins and have been led thus far by John Gillon (6-0, Fr., G, Houston, Texas) who averages 13.6 points with a team-high 9 3-pointers.

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