Bears Look to Rebound With Saturday Opportunity at No. 22 Oklahoma State
MSU at #22 Oklahoma State, Saturday at 3 p.m.
MSU at #22 Oklahoma State, Saturday at 3 p.m.

Dec. 6, 2012

Missouri State Bears (2-6) at #22 Oklahoma St. (6-1)

Dec. 8, 2012, Gallagher-Iba Arena (13,611), Stillwater, Okla., 3 p.m.

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The Ten Count

  • Missouri State ranks No. 7 among among Division I basketball’s least-experienced teams this season. The Bears average 0.83 years of college experience per player, by far the least in the Missouri Valley Conference.
  • The Bears entered the week ranked 18th in the nation in turnover margin (+5.1), forcing 16.4 per game while committing just 11.3. The Tulsa game marked the first time this season the Bears had more TO than their opponent.
  • MSU boasts two players from Oklahoma in Drew Wilson (F, Tulsa) and Dorrian Williams (G, Oklahoma City).
  • Missouri State is 2-0 when shooting a higher FG% than its opponents and 0-4 when recording 20 FG or less.
  • MSU is 6-21 all-time against ranked opponents (see p. 18), including an 0-1 mark this season and 1-3 under Lusk.
  • Anthony Downing (Sr., Atchison, Kan.) had a 13-game streak of double-figure scoring games snapped at Tulsa (12/5/12), his first scoreless effort in 40 games at MSU. He needs just 19 points to reach 500 for his MSU career.
  • MSU has secured 12 or more offensive rebounds in 7-of-8 games, while its opponents have been held to 9 offensive caroms or less seven times.
  • Nathan Scheer (Jr., Washington, Mo.) is one 3-pointer shy of 50 for his Missouri State playing career.
  • The Bears are at the end of a three-game stretch against all Oklahoma schools -- ORU, Tulsa and Oklahoma St.
  • This season, Paul Lusk’s club is 2-0 when leading with 5 minutes left and 2-1 when leading at the half.

Head Coach Paul Lusk

Paul Lusk (Southern Illinois, 1995) is 18-22 (.450) in his second season at MSU and 20-45 (.308) in his third season overall as a head coach.  He is 9-13 in non-conference play (6-5 at JQH Arena, 3-3 away and 0-5 at neutral sites). Overall, he is 10-9 in home games, 8-8 on the road, and 0-5 at neutral sites. He is 0-1 against Oklahoma State (0-0 away, 0-1 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 MVC Coach of the Year.


The Series

  The Bears and Cowboys wrap up a three-year series on Saturday with Missouri State looking for its first-ever win over OSU in men’s basketball.
 Oklahoma State leads the series, 7-0, with wins in all three of the previous meetings in Stillwater, including an 84-70 victory over MSU during the Bears’ MVC title run in 2010-11.
 Last year in Springfield, the Cowboys made 24 second-half free throws and overcame a 12-point deficit to stun the Bears at JQH Arena, 72-67, before 8,601 fans. MSU did not score in the final four minutes, eight seconds.
 Kyle Weems had 24 points and 12 rebounds to lead Missouri State, while Jarmar Gulley added 19 points on a 7-for-9 shooting effort. OSU was led by Le’Bryan Nash who led four Cowboys in double figures with 19 points to go with 8 rebounds.

The Opponent

   Oklahoma State (6-1) entered the week ranked No. 22 in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll and No. 23 in the Associated Press poll. After Wednesday’s 61-49 home win over South Florida, Coach Travis Ford (Kentucky, 1994) has his club back on track after an 81-71 loss at Virginia Tech on Dec., 1.
 In Wednesday’s home win over South Florida, Marcus Smart (6-4, Fr., G, Flower Mound, Texas) scored a game-high 15 points, while returning starter Markel Brown (6-3, Jr., G, Alexandria, La.) had 13 points. Philip Jurick (6-11, Sr., C, Chattanooga, Tenn.) also had a game-high 14 rebounds to help OSU out-rebound the Bulls 41-28.
 OSU, which finished 15-18 last season, returns 11 lettermen and four starters from that club. Le’Bryan Nash (13.3 ppg, 5.0 rpg in 2011-12) had just 6 points against USF, while fellow returning starters Jean-Paul Olukemi (9.8 ppg, 4.8 rpg) and Brian Williams (9.6 ppg, 3.3 rpg) have been sidelined with injuries.




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