Bears Open 24th Valley Season Thursday vs. Redbirds
 
Senior - Keith Pickens
 
Senior - Keith Pickens
 

Dec. 31, 2013

TICKETS

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Missouri State Bears (10-2, 0-0 MVC) vs. Illinois State (7-5, 0-0 MVC)

Date: Thursday, Jan. 2, 2014
Tipoff: 7:05 p.m. (Central)
Location: JQH Arena (11,000), Springfield, Mo.
Series: ISU leads 35-26 (MSU leads 18-10 in Springfield)
TV: None
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 13 Tickets  |  MSU Students Free with BearPass ID  |  MVC 6-Pack Ticket Plans

NOTE: The MSU Athletics Box Office will be closed Jan. 1 and will re-open at 10 a.m. on game day.

THE TEN COUNT

  • Missouri State will open its 24th season in the Missouri Valley Conference tonight. The Bears are 20-3 in Valley home openers and 14-9 in all MVC openers with four straight victories.
  • Missouri State radio announcer Art Hains will call his 1,000th MSU men’s basketball game and 2,000th MSU athletic contest tonight. He is in his 33rd year behind the microphone for the Bears.
  • Keith Pickens (Sr., G/F, St. Louis, Mo.) is appearing in his 100th college basketball game tonight and his 50th game at JQH Arena. He has blocked a shot in all 7 games he has played this season and 8 games in a row overall.
  • MSU collected 10 wins before the end of the calendar year -- something it has now done just 8 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), 2009-10 (11-1) and 2013-14 (10-2).
  • The Bears’ .458 field goal percentage in the win over SEMO (12/29/13) was its best shooting effort in eight games.
  • Missouri State is 5-0 this season when Jarmar Gulley (Sr., F, Beaumont, Texas) scores 15 points or more.
  • The Bears have won 8 straight games at JQH Arena and are now 67-25 (.728) in their sixth season at “The Q.”
  • MSU is 9-0 this season when its bench players outscore the opponents’ reserves. MSU is getting 33.9 points per game from its bench players -- 45.1 percent of its total points.
  • Paul Lusk’s troops have held 11 of 12 opponents this season under 40% from 3-point range. Only Oral Roberts’ .471 (8-for-17) effort from beyond the arc bucked the Bears’ trend as one of the best 3-point defenses in The Valley.
  • In the four games since his return from a knee injury, Marcus Marshall (So., G, St. Paul, Minn.) is averaging 16.3 points per game.

THE SERIES

  The Bears and Redbirds will meet for the 62nd time when they tip it up at JQH Arena on Jan. 2. The series dates back to 1967 when the clubs met in the NCAA Division II semifinals. The clubs have met 50 times as Valley foes.
 Illinois State owns a 35-26 series edge with wins in three of the last four against the Bears and six of the last 10. MSU is 3-2 against the Redbirds at JQH Arena.
 The teams split two meetings last season with the Bears taking a 62-55 win at JQH Arena (1/8/13) and the Redbirds running up an 86-50 senior night win in Normal (2/27/13). The Redbirds got 25 points from Tyler Brown and 16 from Jackie Carmichael while holding MSU to 37.5 percent from the field and 3-of-22 (.136) from 3-point range.

VALLEY WEEKNIGHT TICKETS

   Missouri State Athletics announced it is making upper-level men's basketball seats available for half price for all remaining weekday  games. The "Valley Weeknights" ticket special will make upper-level tickets available for as little as $5 when purchased on game days.
   Starting with Thursday's MVC opener against Illinois State (7:05 p.m.), upper-bowl tickets will be available from $5 to $13.50, based on section preference and availability.
   The MSU Athletics Box Office and call center will re-open Thursday at 10 a.m., at JQH Arena. Tickets for the Bears' MVC opener may be purchased in person or by phone at (417) 836-7678.
   The Valley Weeknights special is also good for upcoming games against Evansville (Jan. 21), Drake (Feb. 12) and Loyola (Feb. 25).

COACH Paul Lusk

Paul Lusk (Southern Illinois, 1995) is 37-40 (.481) in his third season at MSU and 39-63 (.382) 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 21-20 in all non-conference games (13-6 at JQH Arena, 6-7 away and 2-7 at neutral sites).  He is also 23-14 in all home games, 12-19 on the road, and 2-7 at neutral sites. He is 1-3 against Illinois State (1-1 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
che Bears will embark on a two-game Valley road trip starting Sunday at league newcomer Loyola (3 p.m.) and next Wednesday, Jan. 8 at Bradley (7 p.m.). Missouri State returns to JQH Arena on Saturday, Jan. 11 to take on nationally-ranked Wichita State at 7 p.m., in an ESPN3 telecast.

LAST GAME

  A 3-pointer by Dorrian Williams at the buzzer lifted Missouri State past visiting Southeast Missouri, 81-78, in the non-conference finale.
 Marcus Marshall led MSU’s efforts with 19 points, while Jarmar Gulley scored 15, and Emmanuel Addo added 11 points and a team-high 8 rebounds. SEMO was led by Jarekious Bradley with 26 points and 10 rebounds, while Tyler Stone added 22 points and 11 boards.
 Williams’ shot off the glass validated an otherwise-dominant performance by MSU as the home club pushed ahead 61-41 with 13:21 to play. A layup by Ron Mvouika and put-back by Keith Pickens gave the Bears their biggest lead of the game and had the Redhawks reeling into a called timeout.
 SEMO came out of its huddle with a sense of urgency and answered with a 12-2 run over the next three-and-a-half minutes as a Bradley trey with 9:55 to go made it a 63-53 contest.
 The Bears settled and seemed to have a solution to the increased Redhawks’ pressure as another layup by Pickens and a put-back by Addo pushed MSU back ahead by 14 with just over seven minutes remaining. Later, back-to-back 3-pointers by Austin Ruder and Marshall cushioned MSU’s advantage to 75-62 with 5:08 to play.
 But Marshall’s trey would be Missouri State’s last field goal until Williams’ buzzer-beater, and the visitors used a 14-2 run from there to pull within 77-76 with 19.8 seconds to go. The Redhawks went 4-for-4 at the line, collected 3-pointers from Antonius Cleveland and Bradley, and got a jumper by Bradley and a steal and layup by Jamaal Calvin to close the gap to one.
 Missouri State got to the line on its second-to-last possession of the night as Marshall made the front end, but missed the second shot to make it a 78-76 game. SEMO’s Bradley corralled the rebound and called a timeout with 14.8 to play. The Redhawks came out of the timeout with a play for Bradley who knocked down a contested 15-footer from the right baseline to tie the game with 3.3 ticks showing.
 MSU then used its final timeout to set up the winning play as Williams took the inbound pass and dribbled through traffic to the top of the key where he fired home his only field goal of the night -- a 24-footer as he was fading left -- to help the Bears secure their eighth straight home victory.
 MSU overcame a season-high 16 turnovers, including 11 in the second half.


 

 

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