Bears Set to Take On National Champion Cardinals
Sr. - G/F - Keith Pickens
Sr. - G/F - Keith Pickens

Dec. 15, 2013

Missouri State Game Notes Get Acrobat Reader
Louisville Game Notes Get Acrobat Reader

Missouri State Bears (8-1) at Louisville (9-1)

Date: Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2013
Kickoff: 8:05 p.m. (Central)
Location: KFC Yum! Center (22,000), Louisville, Ky.
Series: UL leads 1-0 (1-0 in Louisville)
TV: ESPN2 (Bob Wischusen, Len Elmore) | ESPN3
Radio: MSU Bears Radio Network, flagship KTXR (101.3 FM) (Art Hains, Mike Keltner)
Live Stats: GameTracker
Live Video: WatchESPN
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Tickets: | MSU Mini Ticket Plans


  • The last time the Bears played a defending national champion was 12/30/88 -- an 82-73 loss to Kansas at the BMA Holiday Classic in Kansas City. The Bears and Jayhawks also played on 3/29/52 after both clubs won national titles (NAIA and NCAA, respectively) -- a 92-65 KU victory at Municipal Auditorium in Kansas City in the “Olympic Trials Playoffs.”
  • The Bears boast one of the deepest benches in the country, sharing the national lead with 12 players averaging 10.0 minutes per game or more (with Jacksonville and UMBC).
  • Despite playing just 51 total minutes in the last four games, Emmanuel Addo (Sr., F, Toronto, Canada) has scored in double figures three times and has averaged 9.0 points per game in that span.
  • The Bears have overcome three halftime deficits this season and are 3-1 when trailing at the break (5-0 when leading).
  • MSU is 3-0 this season when Keith Pickens (Sr., G/F, St. Louis, Mo.) plays 20 or more minutes. He is averaging 7.0 points and 6.3 rebounds in those games.
  • The only previous meeting between the teams was a 74-56 Cardinals win in the quarterfinals of the 2006 NIT (3/22/06).
  • Over the last 6 games, Dorrian Williams (So., G, Oklahoma City, Okla.) has 20 assists and 4 turnovers with 5 starts.
  • Since Nov. 24, Christian Kirk (Jr., F, Springfield, Mo.) is averaging 10.3 points and 5.7 rebounds, all off the bench.
  • Marcus Marshall (So., G, St. Paul, Minn.) is coming off his third career 20-point game. He was 5-for-11 from the field and 9-of-10 at the foul line to help lead the Bears to Friday’s road win over Oral Roberts (12/13/13).
  • This is Paul Lusk’s 100th game as a head coach. He is 35-39 in his third year at MSU and 37-62 in four years overall.


   The Bears have met Louisville just once on the hardwood -- a 74-56 Cardinals victory at Freedom Hall in the quarterfinals of the 2006 NIT (3/22/06).
 Taquan Dean proved to be too much for MSU to handle as he finished with 26 points behind five 3-pointers.  
 The Bears got 13 points from Kellen Easley and 12 from Tyler Chaney to lead the visitors, while Nathan Bilyeu contributed team-highs 9 rebounds and 5 assists. MSU was held to just 27 percent shooting from the field on 17-of-63.
 The 2006 NIT marked the first time the NCAA organized the historic tournament. The Cardinals were the top seed in their region but were later upset by eventual champion South Carolina in the semifinals.

COACH Paul Lusk

Paul Lusk (Southern Illinois, 1995) is 35-39 (.473) in his third season at MSU and 37-62 (.374) 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 19-19 in all non-conference games (11-6 at JQH Arena, 6-6 away and 2-7 at neutral sites).  He is also 21-14 in all home games, 12-18 on the road, and 2-7 at neutral sites. He has never coached against Louisville.
 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).


  Missouri State will host Alabama A&M this Saturday (Dec. 21) at 7:05 p.m., as the Bears look to avenge last year’s 59-47 loss in Huntsville to the Bulldogs. Coach Willie Hayes has all five starters and 12 lettermen back and will bring a 3-5 ledger into JQH Arena.
 The Bears then wrap up their non-conference slate on Sunday, Dec. 29 at 2:05 p.m., when they host long-time rival Southeast Missouri State. The series between MSU and SEMO dates back to 1911, and the Bears own an 88-54 series lead (60-12 in Springfield). The Redhawks are 7-3 headed into games at Memphis (Dec. 21) and at home against IUPUI (Dec. 23).


  MSU made nine straight free throws in the final 43 seconds and got a game-high 20 points from Marcus Marshall to take a 70-67 road win at Oral Roberts.
 Marshall, who had missed the previous four games with a knee injury, came off the bench to make 5-of-11 shots and 9-of-10 at the foul line and lead MSU’s efforts. Jarmar Gulley added 15 points, while Christian Kirk scored 12 off the bench with a team-high 6 rebounds.
 ORU (5-5) was led by Shawn Glover who tallied 16 points, while Brandon Conley added 16 points and 6 boards.
 The Bears showed poise and maturity down the stretch to earn the victory, as Marshall and Gulley teamed up to break a 52-52 tie with under four minutes to go. Marshall’s free throw and Gulley’s driving layup pushed the visitors back ahead 55-52 with 3:01 on the clock.
 With the Golden Eagles in the double bonus, Glover knocked down a pair of free throws to make it a one-point game with 2:40 to play, but Gulley’s scoop shot at the rim soon gave MSU a 57-54 advantage.
 Oral Roberts would cut the deficit to one once more, but Marshall’s fade-away 20-footer with 1:19 remaining was the beginning of the end for the home club. Gulley scored a traditional 3-point play with 43 seconds to go after a miss by Korey Billbury to give Paul Lusk’s squad a 62-56 advantage.
 MSU refused to foul with the Golden Eagles in desperation mode, leading to a dunk back by Conley and a pair of 3-pointers. But MSU was dead on from the free throw line down the stretch, making eight straight after Gulley’s 3-point play to seal the win.
 MSU finished 16-of-18 (.889) at the foul line and 25-of-58 (.431) from the field with 4-of-12 (.333) makes beyond the arc.
 ORU out-rebounded the Bears, 33-31, but the Golden Eagles had just two offensive rebounds. Scott Sutton’s squad was 23-of-49 (.469) from the field, 8-of-17 (.471) from long range and 13-of-20 (.650) at the line with 13 turnovers.
 The Bears came out on fire to start the second half as a left-hander by Emmanuel Addo and a 3-pointer by Austin Ruder gave MSU a 33-26 advantage with just over two minutes expired in the second period. After ORU cut the Bears’ lead to three, Missouri State went on a 9-3 run to take their biggest advantage of the night, 44-35, after a short jumper off the glass by Kirk and traditional 3-point play by Gulley gave MSU a 44-35 advantage at the 13:10 mark.
 But just over eight minutes later, the game was tied, giving the visiting Bears a chance to shine in the clutch. 



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