MSU vs. Drake, Jan. 31, 2:05 p.m.
Dec. 30, 2011
Missouri State Bears (8-5, 1-0) vs. Drake Bulldogs (8-4, 1-0)
Sat., Dec. 31, 2011, 2:05 p.m. (Central)
JQH Arena, Springfield, Mo. I Game Notes (PDF) I Tickets
Series: MSU is 33-10 against Drake (19-1 in Springfield)
Radio: KTXR (101.3 FM) and MSU Bears Radio Network (LISTEN LIVE)
Live Stats: Game Tracker I Watch Live: Bears All-Access
GameDay Gear I MSU Game Notes I MVC Notes
Coming off their first-ever road win against a ranked opponent, the Missouri State Bears return to JQH Arena Saturday afternoon (2:05 p.m.) for a key showdown against the red-hot Drake Bulldogs.
Coach Paul Lusk’s squad got the better of No. 19 Creighton on Wednesday night in Omaha, 77-65, as Kyle Weems (Sr., F, Topeka, Kan.) scored a career-high 31 points, including 25 points in the second half. In his first career start, Anthony Downing (Jr., G, Atchison, Kan.) contributed 26 points to the victory with an 11-for-14 shooting performance. Jarmar Gulley (Jr., G/F, Beaumont, Texas) also poured in 12 points for Missouri State as the Bears stunned the third-largest crowd in Creighton history (17,665) with an 11-2 run in the final 2:18 to ice the win in the conference opener.
The win was MSU’s first over a Top 25 opponent since the final game at Hammons Student Center on Feb. 26, 2008, an 86-83 win over No. 20 Drake.
Drake comes to Springfield tied atop the MVC standings after it rolled past Indiana State, 79-64, in Des Moines on Wednesday.
Missouri State leads the all-time series against Drake, 33-10, including a 19-1 record in Springfield and 3-0 mark at JQH Arena.
COACH Paul Lusk:
Paul Lusk (Southern Illinois, 1995) is 8-5 in his first season at MSU and 10-28 in two years overall. He is 4-1 at JQH Arena, 4-2 on the road, and 0-2 at neutral sites. This is his first game against Drake as a head coach.
Lusk took the reigns as MSU’s 17th head coach on April 1, 2011. Lusk came to Springfield after seven seasons at Purdue (2004-11), including the last three as associate head coach for the Boilermakers. Now in his 14th 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 coached in six of the last eight NCAA Tournaments and played in three NCAA Tournaments as a player at SIU.
THE TEN COUNT:
The Bears are 2-0 in day games so far this season, defeating Arkansas-Little Rock 68-60 on the road Dec. 10 before upending Kennesaw State 78-55 at JQH Arena on Dec. 17.
Kyle Weems (Sr., F, Topeka, Kan.), the reigning MVC Player of the Year, is coming off a career-high 31 points in Wednesday’s 77-65 win at No. 19 Creighton. He notched 25 points in the second half alone -- just two points shy of the MSU record for points in a half -- and was 11-for-22 from the field, including 3-for-4 from three-point range. He also posted a team-high 7 rebounds in the game, marking the 49th time in his career he has led the Bears on the boards.
Missouri State is 19-1 at home all-time against the Bulldogs. The lone blemish in the series, which dates back to 1986, was Feb. 21, 2001, a convincing 73-61 win for Drake at Hammons Student Center. The Bears have won 10 straight at home against DU since then, including wins in all three previous meetings at JQH Arena.
In last week’s trip to the Las Vegas Classic, the Bears fell to 0-7 all-time in Vegas with another pair of close outings in their third trip to the event. Those seven losses have come by an average margin of just 6.0 points with three overtime defeats.
The Bears were 9th in the nation last week in turnovers per game (10.6). The NCAA did not post a national statistics update this week. Last season, MSU finished 7th among 336 Division I teams in fewest turnovers (10.3).
Caleb Patterson (Sr., C, Ames, Okla.) enters today’s game needing 23 points for 600 in his career (including his freshman season at Colorado). He also needs just one free throw to give him 100 in his 95-game career.
The Bears open the conference home slate with four straight victories at JQH Arena against Missouri Valley Conference foes. The last MVC team to beat the Bears in Springfield was Northern Iowa on Jan. 30, 2011 (60-59). Overall, the Bears have won seven straight conference games, dating back to Feb. 5, 2011.
All-American Kyle Weems (Sr., F, Topeka, Kan.) has scored in double figures 12 straight games. He also has 93 double-digit scoring affairs, which ranks second on Missouri State’s career list behind Daryel Garrison’s 97. He also climbed to No. 8 on the MSU career scoring list (1,571), just 6 points behind Blake Ahearn (2003-07) for the No. 7 spot.
In his first Division I start, Anthony Downing scored a career-high 26 points and shot 11-for-14 (.786) with 5 assists to help the Bears defeat No. 19 Creighton in Omaha on Wednesday (Dec. 28).
Missouri State and Wichita State were the only two MVC clubs to win on the road this week in their league openers.
Jarmar Gulley (Jr., G/F, Beaumont, Texas) is coming off his third straight double-figure scoring game. He is averaging 12.0 points per game over the last three games with 13 rebounds in that span.
The Bears are 5-0 this season when scoring first and 8-2 when they shoot a higher free throw percentage than their opponents.
Michael Bizoukas (Sr., G, Munster, Ind.) needs just 17 points to match his season career scoring mark of 85 set in 2009-10. Bizoukas also needs 6 assists for 250 in his career, 13 rebounds for 200 and 2 games for 100.
With the win at No. 19 Creighton, the Bears improved to 6-18 all-time against Top 25 opponents.
Coach Mark Phelps’ Drake club (8-4, 1-0) shot 56.4 percent from the field in its MVC opener Wednesday as the Bulldogs rolled past Indiana State, 79-64, in Des Moines. Karl Madison (Fr., G, Springfield, Ill.) was 9-for-9 from the field with a game-high 24 points, while Rayvonte Rice (So, G, Champaign, Ill.) scored 22 points.
Rice, who was part of the MVC All-Freshman Team last season along with MSU’s Nathan Scheer (So., G/F, Washington, Mo.), leads Drake with an 18.5 scoring average. Ben Simons (Jr., F, Cadillac, Mich.) also scores 15.2 points per game for DU, which comes to JQH Arena on a two-game winning streak.
Drake returns four starters and 11 lettermen from a 13-18 squad that was 7-11 in the MVC (7th) last season.