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Bears Set to Take on Texas A&M in Corpus Christi Semis
 
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Nov. 27, 2013

Missouri State Game Notes Get Acrobat Reader
Texas A&M Game Notes Get Acrobat Reader

Missouri State Bears (5-0) vs. Texas A&M (6-0)

Date: Friday, Nov. 29, 2013
Kickoff: 9:00 p.m. (Central)
Location: American Bank Center (8,156), Corpus Christi, Texas
Series: MSU leads 1-0. (0-0 at neutral sites)
TV: CBS Sports Net (Rich Walz, Steve Lappas)  |  Dish 158, DirecTV 221, ATT 1643
Radio: MSU Bears Radio Network, flagship KTXR (101.3 FM) (Art Hains, Mike Keltner)
Live Stats: StatBroadcast.com
Live Video: none
Listen Live: RadioSpringfield.com
Tickets: Corpus Christi Challenge Tickets | MSU Mini Ticket Plans

THE TEN COUNT

  • MSU is off to a 5-0 start for the first time since 2009-10 when coach Cuonzo Martin's Bears began the year 10-0.
  • In this week's NCAA rankings (as of Monday), MSU is 11th nationally in 3-point field goal percentage (.456), 27th in scoring offense (88.3) and 36th in field goal percentage (.502).
  • Christian Kirk (Jr., F, Springfield, Mo.) posted a career-high 21 points off the bench in Missouri State's win over Hampton on Nov. 24. Over the last two ball games, he is 14-for-21 (.667) from the field with 16 rebounds.
  • The Bears are just 2 wins shy of reaching 600 victories as a Division I program. MSU is 598-377 (.613) in 32 seasons since joining the DI ranks for the 1982-83 season. MSU's 1,582 all-time wins ranks 29th among current DI members.
  • The only previous meeting between MSU and Texas A&M came on Dec. 17, 2001 in the opening round of the Las Vegas Classic. The Bears prevailed 76-65 at Hammons Student Center (see box score on p. 3).
  • Missouri State has forced its opponents into 48 turnovers behind 23 steals over its last three ball games.
  • MSU and No. 12 Wichita State (7-0) are the only remaining unbeaten teams in the Missouri Valley Conference.
  • Jarmar Gulley (Sr., F, Beaumont, Texas) has led the Bears in scoring the last two games, with a career-high 23 against Hampton (Nov. 24) and 13 points against Liberty (Nov. 26) in the first two rounds of the Corpus Christi Challenge.
  • The Bears have come back from deficits of 8 points or more in four of their first five ball games this season.
  • Dorrian Williams (So., G, Oklahoma City, Okla.) has an 11:1 assist-to-turnover ratio over the last three games, including his 19th career start in the win over Liberty. He also has 15 points (5.0) and 13 rebounds (4.3) in that span.

THE SERIES

   The Bears defeated Texas A&M, 76-65, on Dec. 17, 2001 at Hammons Student Center in Springfield in the only previous meeting between the clubs. The game was an opening-round game in the Las Vegas Classic.
 Mike Wallace led all players with 22 points and 16 rebounds for the Bears, while Terrance McGree scored 16 on 10-of-11 free throws. TAMU committed 20 turnovers in the contest, MSU out-rebounded the visitors by a 42-30 margin..

COACH Paul Lusk

Paul Lusk (Southern Illinois, 1995) is 32-38 (.457) in his third season at MSU and 34-61 (.359) in his fourth season overall as a head coach.  He is 16-20 in MVC games (10-7 at home, 6-13 on the road), 1-2 in MVC Tournament games and 16-17 in non-conference play (10-6 at JQH Arena, 5-6 away and 1-5 at neutral sites).  He is also 20-14 in all home games, 11-18 on the road, and 1-6 at neutral sites. He has never coached against Texas A&M.
 The 42-year-old Lusk took the reins as MSU's 17th head coach on April 1, 2011. He came to Springfield after seven seasons at Purdue (2004-11), including his last three as associate head coach there.  Now in his 16th 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.
 With the seventh-youngest team in Division I basketball last year, Lusk led MSU to its 42nd straight winning record at home and the fifth-best turnover average in the nation (10.2). The 2012-13 Bears also set high-water marks for most games against ranked opponents with six and the best single-season scoring total for a freshman class in program history (855).

CORPUS CHRISTI CHALLENGE

   The inaugural Corpus Christi Challenge, Nov. 24-30, includes two games at JQH Arena and two games at the American Bank Center in Corpus Christi.
 The Bears opened the tournament with an 81-67 home win over Hampton (Nov. 24) and followed that with a narrow 54-52 home win over Liberty two days later. MSU's worst offensive outing of the year saw the Bears overcome a 10-point deficit with 8:33 left in the first half against the Flames.
 The event then moves to the American Bank Center (8,156) in Corpus Christi, Texas for the semifinals and finals, Friday, Nov. 29 and Saturday, Nov. 30.  The Bears will take on SEC foe Texas A&M (6-0) in the semifinals at 9 p.m., on Friday. The Aggies have three starters back from an 18-15 squad. On Saturday, MSU will battle either ACC power Virginia, a 23-12 NIT team last season, or SMU (15-17 last season) from the American Athletic Conference in the finals or third-place game.
 Both MSU games in Corpus Christi will air live on CBS Sports Net (Dish 158, DirecTV 221, ATT 1643).

LAST GAME

Missouri State got 13 points from Jarmar Gulley and 10 from Christian Kirk to help overcome a cold shooting night by the Bears in a 54-52 win over visiting Liberty in the second round of the Corpus Christi Challenge.
 Liberty got a game-high 17 points from Davon Marshall who knocked down four 3-pointers on the night, while Antwan Burrus added 10 points off the bench.
 To stay unbeaten, the Bears had to rally from behind for the fourth time this season. A layup by John Caleb Sanders with 8:33 left in the first half put the visitors ahead 18-8 as part of a 6-0 run by the Flames.  LU kept a single-digit lead until five minutes into the second half when Dorrian Williams scored on a layup in transition as part of an 8-2 outburst by MSU to start the second half.
 The lead changed hands six more times over the next seven-and-a-half minutes before a pair of free throws by Williams and two more by Nathan Scheer gave the home club some breathing room at 47-44 with 5:46 to go. Thirty-four seconds later, Marshall knocked down his final trey of the night with the shot clock winding down to tie the game for the fourth and final time.
 Scheer, one of MSU's four seniors, then put MSU ahead to stay with a pair of free throws with 4:48 remaining. On Liberty's next possession, the Flames collected three offensive rebounds, but couldn't convert before MSU gathered in the final miss and Kirk knocked down a 12-foot jumper on the other end.
 Liberty rallied again with a mini 3-0 run over the next two-and-a-half minutes, but Gulley drained a 3-pointer with 83 seconds to go to push MSU on top 54-50.
 In the final minute, Liberty had several opportunities with Sanders trimming the deficit to two with 59 seconds left, and Tomasz Gielo collecting a Scheer miss with 33 seconds showing.  Out of their final timeout, Liberty got the ball to Marshall with 10 seconds to go, but Gulley came out of nowhere to block the shot which Scheer gathered in and fed to Williams.
 The MSU sophomore was fouled, but missed both ensuing free throws with 9.6 seconds to spare, giving Liberty one last chance. With the ball loose on the floor on the ensuing possession, the Flames' J.R. Coronado launched a desperation 3-pointer just before the horn, but Gulley fouled him and sent him to the line for three shots with an adjusted 2.2 seconds left.  Coronado missed all three shots, but an inadvertent whistle on the final miss resulted in a "jump ball" call to give Liberty the ball on the alternating possession and yet another chance. Liberty set up one last play -- a 3-point try by Marshall that missed -- and Kirk gathered in the missed shot to seal the win.


 

 

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