Bears Entertain Road-Tested Tulsa Squad on Saturday

Bears Entertain Road-Tested Tulsa Squad on Saturday

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Nov. 23, 2011

Missouri State Bears (3-0) vs. Tulsa Golden Hurricane (4-2)
Nov. 26, 2011, 7:05 p.m. (Central)
JQH Arena, Springfield, Mo. I Game Notes (PDF) I Tickets
 

GAME INFORMATION:

Series: MSU leads 19-17
Radio: KTXR (101.3 FM) and MSU Bears Radio Network (LISTEN LIVE)
Live Stats: I Watch Live: Bears All-Access
GameDay Gear I MSU Game Notes I MVC Notes

THE GAME:

Missouri State rides out a brief two-game home stand tonight when the Bears welcome the Golden Hurricane of the University of Tulsa to JQH Arena.
The Bears are off to a 3-0 start after pulling away from visiting Emporia State last Saturday in a 71-45 win over the Hornets in MSU's home opener. Jarmar Gulley (Jr., G/F, Atchison, Kan.) shared team-high scoring and rebounding honors with Kyle Weems (Sr., F, Topeka, Kan.) as they each contributed 11 points and 8 rebounds to the winning cause. Seven different Bears hit three-pointers, and 10 players found their way into the scoring column as MSU outscored the visitors by a 38-17 margin in the second half.
Michael Bizoukas (Sr., G, Munster, Ind.) has seven assists and no turnovers against Emporia State, helping him earn MVC Newcomer of the Week. In two games last week, Bizoukas averaged 10.0 points, 4.0 rebounds, 6.0 assists and made 5 threes.
Tulsa will be playing its fifth straight game away from home and is coming off a Tuesday game at Jackson State and a 1-2 showing in the DIRECTTV Charleston Classic in Charleston, S.C., last weekend. In Charleston, coach Doug Wojcik's club beat Western Kentucky (65-49) before dropping a pair of nail-biters to Northwestern (69-65) and St. Joseph's (79-75).

COACH Paul Lusk:

Paul Lusk (Southern Illinois, 1995) is 3-0 in his first season at Missouri State and 5-23 in two years as a head coach. Lusk, who turned 40 on Nov. 14, 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. 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:

  • This week's MVC Newcomer of the Week, Michael Bizoukas (Sr., G, Munster, Ind.), led the Bears to a 2-0 week with a sensational effort at point guard. In two games, he dished out 12 assists with just two turnovers, racked up 20 points, collected eight rebounds and knocked down five three-pointers. His 11-point output in Tuesday's win at Arkansas State was one shy of a career high and was just his third career double-figure scoring effort. He was 7-for-13 (.538) from the field for the week, including 5-for-6 (.833) from three-point range. He is the second Bear in as many weeks to claim the MVC All-Newcomer honor.
  • The Bears enter tonight's game with 21 straight wins against non-conference foes at JQH Arena. The last team outside the Missouri Valley to defeat the Bears at home was Middle Tennessee (63-51) on Dec. 22, 2008.
  • Missouri State will surpass the 400,000 mark in total home attendance at JQH Arena tonight. Since the 11,000-seat facility opened on Nov. 22, 2008, the Bears have played 56 games at The Q and attracted 397,252 fans -- just 2,748 shy of 400k.
  • MSU has surrendered 46, 46 and 45 points, respectively, in its first three games, not only establishing a mark of consistency for keeping opponents under 50 points, but also leading the MVC in scoring defense (45.7) by a wide margin. The Bears' defense has held its opposition to just over 30 percent shooting (.301) from the field, also the best in The Valley, including a .288 ledger from beyond the arc.
  • Missouri State is averaging 26.7 points per game from its bench over the first three contests and has outscored its opponents 80-39 from the pine. MSU's bench players are also averaging 80.0 minutes per game in 2011-12. Last season, Bears' reserves averaged 11.5 points and 47.4 minutes per game.
  • Anthony Downing (Jr., G, Atchison, Kan.) has been the Bears' top reserve through the early portion of the non-conference schedule and continued that role again this week. Last week's MVC Newcomer of the Week logged 15 points in Tuesday's win at Arkansas State and then compiled 8 more points against Emporia State to give him an 11.5 scoring average for the week. He was 5-for-10 (.500) from three-point range, 9-for-14 (.643) from the field and snagged 7 rebounds.
  • The Bears finished 7th in the nation a year ago in turnovers per game (10.3). Missouri State has had just 9 turnovers in each of its first three ball games while forcing 45 total mishaps. MSU has converted 51 points off turnovers, compared to 16 combined tallies by Nevada, Arkansas State and Emporia State.
  • The Bears open the season with four of their first six games against teams picked to win their conference. MSU has already defeated WAC preseason favorite Nevada (Nov. 11) and Sun Belt West top gun Arkansas State (Nov. 15). MSU will next travel to Summit League sweetheart Oral Roberts on Nov. 30 before visiting Mountain West front runner New Mexico on Dec. 3.
  • Over the last two ball games, four MSU players are averaging double-figures in the scoring column. Anthony Downing (Jr., G, Atchison, Kan., 10.5 ppg), Caleb Patterson (Sr., C, Ames, Okla., 11.5 ppg), Kyle Weems (Sr., F, Topeka, Kan., 10.5 ppg) and Michael Bizoukas (Sr., G, Munster, Ind., 10.0 ppg) have led the charge since the season opener.
  • As of Wednesday, the Bears were ranked No. 19 in USA Today's Sagarin Ratings.
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