Missouri State Bears (2-4) vs. Oral Roberts (3-4)
Dec. 2, 2012, JQH Arena (11,000), Springfield, Mo., 4:35 p.m.
2012-13 Missouri State GameDay Guide | Tickets | Visitors Guide
The Last Meeting
November 30, 2011
The Ten Count
- The Bears rank 20th in the nation in turnover margin (+5.4), forcing 17.2 per game while committing just 11.8.
- The 39 and 37 field goals attempted by South Carolina and SMU, respectively, in the Bears’ last two games represent the fewest shots taken against Missouri State during the Paul Lusk era.
- Missouri State is 54-20 all-time at JQH Arena, including a 2-2 ledger this season and 1-0 mark against ORU.
- MSU has committed fewer turnovers than all 6 of its 2012-13 foes. In the club’s 26 games since Dec. 28, 2011, the Bears have only committed more mishaps than their opponents three times.
- Christian Kirk (So., Springfield, Mo.) has started 19 of the Bears’ last 23 games and has scored in double figures in four of the club’s last six outings. He ranks 39th nationally and 2nd in the MVC in FG percentage (.600)
- Anthony Downing (Sr., Atchison, Kan.) has scored in double figures all 6 games this season and 12 straight games dating back to last season. He was a 2011-12 MVC All-Newcomer Team selection.
- The Bears rank 26th nationally and first in the Missouri Valley in 3-point FG% defense (.260).
- Nathan Scheer (Jr., Washington, Mo.) has been the Bears’ first substitute 33 times in his career and twice this year.
- The Bears are 2-0 this season when they shoot a higher field goal percentage than their opponents.
- When Drew Wilson (Fr., Wichita, Kan.) is on the floor, he snags 18.8% of all available rebounds (22.3% defensive).
Head Coach Paul Lusk
Paul Lusk (Southern Illinois, 1995) is 18-20 (.474) in his second season at MSU and 20-43 (.317) 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 0-5 at neutral sites. He is 0-1 against Oral Roberts (0-1 away, 0-0 at home).
The 41-year-old 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.
The series between the Bears and Golden Eagles is knotted at four wins apiece headed into tonight’s match-up.
The Bears have won two of the last three meetings, including a 78-61 victory over ORU in the only previous game between the schools at JQH Arena (11/12/10).
In all home games, including Hammons Student Center, the Bears are 2-1 all-time against Oral Roberts.
Last year in Tulsa, the Golden Eagles handed the Bears their first loss of the year and began a three-game MSU skid with a 68-63 decision.
MSU was down 62-52 with 1:24 remaining before it knocked down three 3-pointers down the stretch to make things interesting. After the Bears trimmed the deficit to 66-63 on a trey by Anthony Downing, ORU’s Warren Niles iced the win for the home club with a pair of free throws with 4.7 seconds left.
Kyle Weems had a game-high 22 points for MSU, while Caleb Patterson scored 14. Keith Pickens (6) and Anthony Downing (5) had the most points by a current MSU player in the game. The Bears were outshot 26-10 from the free throw line and out-rebounded 39-31. Niles had 19 points for ORU, followed by Dominique Morrison with 13, Roderick Pearson with 11 and Michael Craion with 10.
Scott Sutton’s Golden Eagles are 3-4 overall and have lost three straight after a 3-1 start. ORU is coming off a fifth-place showing at the Carrs/Safeway Great Alaska Shootout after beating Loyola Marymount (75-66) and dropping decisions to Charlotte (72-58) and Belmont (70-67). ORU also has wins over St. Gregory’s (90-41) and a road win at Pacific (69-67) to go with its season-opening loss at UTEP (69-49) and Wednesday’s home loss to Oklahoma (63-62).
Sutton (Oklahoma State, 1995) is 253-166 in his 15th season at ORU and overall. He is the younger son of legendary coach Eddie Sutton. Scott’s older brother is Sean Sutton, the former head coach of Oklahoma State University and current assistant coach at ORU.
The Golden Eagles are in their first season in the Southland Conference and return five lettermen and two starters -- Warren Niles (Sr., G, Cincinnati, Ohio, 20.9 ppg, 4.1 rpg) and Damen Bell-Holter (Sr., F/C, Hydaburg, Alaska, 8.3 ppg, 8.9 rpg). ORU was 27-7 last year and finished 17-1 in league play and 15-0 in the regular season at home. ORU was left out of the NCAA Tournament at-large selections in 2012, but did host Nevada in the NIT, which resulted in a disappointing 68-59 loss at the Mabee Center in the club’s only home defeat of the year.
Bell-Holter was originally a Missouri State signee in the class of 2008, but jumped to Oral Roberts, along with former MSU assistant Kyan Brown, during the Bears’ coaching transition that spring.