Missouri State returns to JQH for a 7:05 clash with Alabama A&M on Saturday hoping to improve on 8-2 start
Dec. 19, 2013
Missouri State Game Notes
Alabama A&M Game Notes
Missouri State Bears (8-2) vs. Alabama A&M (3-5)
Date: Saturday, Dec. 21, 2013
Kickoff: 7:05 p.m. (Central)
Location: JQH Arena (11,000), Springfield, Mo.
Series: AAMU leads 1-0. (0-0 in Springfield)
Radio: MSU Bears Radio Network, flagship KTXR (101.3 FM) (Art Hains, Mike Keltner)
Live Stats: GameTracker (mobile friendly)
Live Video: Bears All-Access
Listen Live: RadioSpringfield.com
Tickets: Game 11 Tickets | MSU Students Free with BearPass ID | MVC 6-Pack Ticket Plans
THE TEN COUNT
- With 12 blocks already to his credit, Tyler McCullough (Fr., C, Fayetteville, Ark.) is on pace to break the MSU freshman blocked shots record of 26, set by Darryl Pace (1980-81). Kyle Weems’ 24 blocks in 2008-09 currently ranks second.
- MSU has outshot its opponents in free throw percentage for the past six games, making 91-of-124 (.734) in that span.
- A win over Alabama A&M would give MSU a shot at 10 wins before the end of the calendar year, something the program has done just seven times: 1947-48 (11-0), 1948-49 (10-0), 1950-51 (11-0), 1957-58 (10-0), 1996-97 (10-0), 2006-07 (10-3) and 2009-10 (11-1).
- Despite being out-rebounded in seven straight games, the Bears’ rebound margin against teams other than Virginia and Louisville this season is +1.4. MSU has also averaged 78.9 points per game in its eight wins this season.
- Austin Ruder (Fr., G, Nixa, Mo.) has 20 treys on the season is on pace to join Blake Ahearn (61 in 2003-04) and Ben Kandlbinder (53 in 1994-95) as the only Bears’ freshmen to hit 50 3-pointers in a single season.
- Jarmar Gulley (Sr., F, Beaumont, Texas) has started 12 straight games, the longest active streak on the team.
- Alabama A&M athletics director Bryan Hicks was an associate AD at Missouri State from 2009-12.
- Marcus Marshall (So., G, St. Paul, Minn.) led the Bears in scoring with 16 points against AAMU last season. Aside from the injury-shortened game against Hampton (11/24), he has scored in double figures in 20 of the last 26 games.
- This is Emmanuel Addo’s (Sr., F, Toronto, Canada) 100th college game. The transfer from Northern Colorado has 676 career points and 299 career rebounds at the two schools.
- Twelve Bears are averaging 10.0 minutes per game or better, and all 14 players have played in at least 6 games.
The Bears have met Alabama A&M just once -- a 59-47 setback last season in Huntsville (12/18/12).
After taking a 25-24 lead into halftime on a 3-pointer at the buzzer by Gavin Thurman, the Bears appeared to have momentum on their side. But after the intermission, the Bulldogs (3-6) made five of their first 11 shots on a 13-2 run in the first four minutes to sprint out to a 37-27 advantage. The visitors would get no closer than eight the rest of the game, thanks in part to a 40-23 rebounding advantage by A&M and 24 Bulldog points in the paint.
Marcus Marshall scored a game-high 16 points as the only MSU player in double figures. Alabama A&M got 16 points and 14 rebounds from Demarquelle Tabb, while Jeremy Crutcher scored 12, and Brandon Ellis added 10 points for the Bulldogs.
COACH Paul Lusk
Paul Lusk (Southern Illinois, 1995) is 35-40 (.467) in his third season at MSU and 37-63 (.370) 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 19-20 in all non-conference games (11-6 at JQH Arena, 6-7 away and 2-7 at neutral sites). He is also 21-14 in all home games, 12-19 on the road, and 2-7 at neutral sites. He is 0-1 against Alabama A&M (0-0 at JQH Arena).
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 wrap up its 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 opens Missouri Valley Conference play at home on Thursday, Jan. 2 against Illinois State at 7:05 p.m. The Bears and Redbirds split two meetings last season, including an 86-50 ISU win in Normal in the most-recent matchup (2/27/13).
Missouri State ran into a buzz saw, falling 90-60 to defending national champion Louisville before 21,335 at the KFC Yum! Center.
Jarmar Gulley led the Bears with 14 points and 6 rebounds, while Marcus Marshall scored 8, and Austin Ruder matched Gulley’s team-high with 6 boards.
No. 6-ranked (AP) Louisville had four players in double figures, including Montrezl Harrell who had 17, and 11 apiece by fellow starters Wayne Blackshear, Terry Rozier and Russ Smith.
The attendance was the most ever to see a Bears’ game, topping the 20,172 that witnessed MSU’s upset of Tennessee in the 1999 NCAA Tournament.
After falling behind by 23 at the break, the Bears played within seven points of Louisville in the second half, as they shot a respectable 40.6 percent from the field and were out-rebounded just 24-20 in the second stanza.
MSU was able to trim the halftime deficit to 17 with 11:09 left in the game as Keith Pickens’ reverse layup and free throw made it a 62-45 contest. But the Bears would go the next five-plus minutes without a field goal, and the Cardinals drew ahead by 30 for the first time at the 5:33 mark.
The Bears scored the game’s firsts bucket with Gulley slashing to the bucket just 20 seconds into the contest. Emmanuel Addo made it a 4-3 Bears’ lead at the 18:01 mark with a layup in traffic. UofL then reeled off the next 16 points over a seven-minute stretch to take a commanding 19-4 lead. By the time Gulley ended a nine-minute drought in which MSU did not score a field goal, the Cardinals were up 25-8 with just over nine minutes left in the half.
Missouri State used a 6-1 run later in the half to pull within 30-15 with five-and-a-half to go after Dorrian Williams drained a long-range 3-pointer, and Gulley scored on a couple of hustle-play put-backs.
But Coach Rick Pitinio’s squad got revved up again and reeled off 17 points in the span of just over four minutes to take its biggest lead of the half, 47-21, at the 1:09 mark. Marcus Marshall ended the half with a good note as he collected a traditional 3-point play just before the buzzer to make it a 47-24 game at the half.