Bears Square Off With Virginia for Tournament Title

Nov. 30, 2013

Missouri State Game Notes Get Acrobat Reader
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Missouri State Bears (6-0) vs. (RV) Virginia (6-1)

Date: Saturday, Nov. 30, 2013
Kickoff: 8:00 p.m. (Central)
Location: American Bank Center (8,156), Corpus Christi, Texas
Series: First meeting
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: Game Tracker
Live Video: none
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Tickets: Corpus Christi Challenge Tickets | MSU Mini Ticket Plans


  • The Bears have come back from deficits of 8 or more points in five of their first six ball games this season.
  • MSU is off to a 6-0 start for the first time since 2009-10 when coach Cuonzo Martin’s Bears began the year 10-0.
  • This is the first-ever meeting between Missouri State and Virginia.
  • MSU has overcome three halftime deficits in its first six ball games this season, including the last two games.
  • The Bears are just 1 win away from 600 victories as a Division I program. MSU is 599-377 (.614) in 32 seasons since joining the DI ranks for the 1982-83 season. MSU’s 1,583 all-time wins ranks 29th among current DI members.
  • The Bears have held all six of their 2013-14 opponents under 50-percent shooting from the field.
  • Missouri State has forced its opponents into 62 turnovers -- behind 31 steals -- over its last four ball games, including 15 steals by Jarmar Gulley (Sr., F, Beaumont, Texas) in that span.
  • The Bears have gotten 211 of their 480 points this season from their reserves. The MSU bench has outscored its opponents’ bench 5 times in 6 games, while accounting for 44% of the Bears’ point production.
  • Austin Ruder (Fr., G, Nixa, Mo.) has hit multiple 3-pointers in four games this season for the Bears and is coming off a career-high 19 points with a career-best 5-for-9 effort behind the arc against Texas A&M (Nov. 29).
  • Dorrian Williams (So., G, Oklahoma City, Okla.) has an 13:2 assist-to-turnover ratio over the last four games.
  • Christian Kirk (Jr., F, Springifeld, Mo.) has scored in double figures in three straight games -- all off the bench.


   This is the first-ever meeting between the Bears and Cavaliers.

COACH Paul Lusk

   Paul Lusk (Southern Illinois, 1995) is 33-38 (.465) in his third season at MSU and 35-61 (.365) 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 17-17 in non-conference play (10-6 at JQH Arena, 5-6 away and 2-5 at neutral sites).  He is also 20-14 in all home games, 11-18 on the road, and 2-6 at neutral sites. He has never coached against Virginia.
 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).


   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 moved to the American Bank Center (8,156) in Corpus Christi, Texas for the semifinals where the Bears got 19 points from Austin Ruder and overcame an early eight-point deficit and poor shooting to overtake the previously-unbeaten Aggies. MSU will now battle ACC power Virginia, a 23-12 NIT team last season, in the championship game at 8 p.m., Saturday (Nov. 30).

   Both MSU games in Corpus Christi will air live on CBS Sports Net (Dish 158, DirecTV 221, ATT 1643).


   Missouri State got 19 points from freshman Austin Ruder and 12 from Dorrian Williams to lead the Bears to a 73-67 win over previously-unbeaten Texas A&M here Friday in the semifinals of the Corpus Christi Challenge.
   MSU (6-0) advances to play Virginia (6-1) in the tournament finals, Saturday at 8 p.m., in a game that will air live on CBS Sports Network.
   Paul Lusk's Bears stunned the biased Texas crowd after overcoming an 8-point deficit and a poor shooting effort in the first half to outscore the Aggies, 49-38, in the second stanza. Ruder dropped 16 of his game-high point total in the second half behind four treys, including a pair of rare four-point plays that proved critical in the outcome.
   After the Bears battled through a 29-24 halftime deficit to tie the game on a hook shot by Emmanuel Addo just over three minutes into the second half, it was Ruder's second four-point play at the 10:47 mark that gave MSU it's first advantage since 2-0. His big shot put Missouri State ahead 46-42 at the time. Despite several rushes by the Aggies and three consecutive three-point plays by Texas A&M in the final three minutes, the Bears would never trail again.
   A&M cut MSU's lead to one or two points eight different times down the stretch, but each time the Bears answered. Ruder dropped in another trey with six-and-a-half to play, Addo and Christian Kirk scored on hook shots before the five-minute mark, Gulley scored on a baseline drive with 3:34 to play.  With just under three minutes to play, Gulley slapped a loose ball to Kirk who tomahawked in a one-handed dunk and was fouled. His subsequent free throw made it a 60-56 game at the time.
   With just over two minutes remaining, Addo knocked down a monumental 3-pointer from the right wing to push a one-point advantage to 63-59. But it was clutch free throw shooting that made the difference as Addo, Williams and Nathan Scheer combined to go 8-for-8 at the stripe in the final 96 seconds to seal the win. As a team, the Bears converted 21-of-23 (.913) foul shots on the night -- by far a season-best for MSU.
   MSU overcame a 23.3-percent first-half shooting performance by making 15-of-27 (.556) in the second stanza while committing just three turnovers in the final period. MSU finished the night 22-of-57 (.386) from the field and 8-of-26 (.308) from beyond the arc. MSU was out-rebounded 35-34, but snagged 10 offensive boards which lead to 6 second-chance points.  
   Texas A&M (6-1) was led by Kourtney Roberson with 16 points, while Jordan Green tallied 13, and Antwan Space scored 10 with a game-high 7 rebounds.


   The Bears return to JQH Arena on Wednesday (Dec. 4) for a 7:05 p.m., game against Cameron University as MSU looks to extend its JQH Arena winning streak to six games. The Aggies (3-3) feature Craig Foster, who was named the National Player of the Year by the Division II Bulletin for the 2013-14 season. Former Bears standout Drew Richards is an assistant coach at Cameron. Tickets for Cameron Game  |  Holiday Ticket 3-Pack



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