Bears Look to Get Back on Track Saturday at Bradley

Bears Look to Get Back on Track Saturday at Bradley

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Jan. 14, 2016

Missouri State Game Notes | Bradley Game Notes | MVC Weekly Notebook

Missouri State Bears (6-11, 2-3 MVC) at Bradley Braves (3-15, 1-4 MVC)
Sat., Jan. 16, 2016
Carver Arena (11,442), Peoria, Ill. | 7:00 p.m. | KOZL-TV
Location Carver Arena (11,442) | Peoria, Ill.
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All-Time Series
MSU leads 34-19 | MSU Streak: W1 | Last Meeting: MSU 80, BU 77 (4ot) (2/25/15 at JQH Arena)
Up Next
The Bears continue a two-game league road swing Wednesday at Drake (7 p.m.) on KOZL-27 and the MSU Television Network.
The 10 Count
  • Dequon Miller (Jr., Charleston, W.Va.) has earned MVC Newcomer of the Week honors four times in the last six weeks and has led the Bears in scoring three times in Valley play. The transfer from Motlow (Tenn.) College was an NJCAA All-American two seasons ago and has scored 11 or more points in 10 of the Bears' last 11 games.
  • Camyn Boone (Sr., Mesa, Ariz.) is just 26 points away from reaching the 500-point milestone for his two-year career at MSU. He is also 20 rebounds shy of 300. Boone has started 45 of the 48 games he has played for the Bears.
  • Dorrian Williams (Sr., Oklahoma City, Okla.) has missed the last 4 games with a hamstring injury. He is averaging 9.0 points per game in Valley play. Injuries to three guards have resulted in 28 missed games this season for MSU.
  • Obediah Church (Fr., Springfield, Ill.) has produced 17 dunks this season for Missouri State. Since the MSU Dunk-O-Meter debuted for the 2008-09 season, only Kyle Weems (18 in 2009-10) has had more slams in a season.
  • In last year's marathon triple-overtime game between BU and MSU at JQH Arena, Chris Kendrix (So., Willard, Mo.) played a school record 55 minutes and never came out of the game. He had 14 points and 8 rebounds.
  • The last 4 meetings between the teams at Carver have been decided by 13 total points (average margin of 3.3 pts).
  • Ryan Kreklow (Fr., Columbia, Mo.) is averaging 9.0 points, 3.7 rebounds, 32.3 minutes and 2.0 3-pointers per game over the last three outings, including a 10-point effort in his first-ever Valley start Wednesday against WSU.
  • This season, the Bears are 6-1 when shooting at a higher FG percentage than their opponent (0-10 when not).
  • MSU's four freshmen accounted for half the Bears' points in last Saturday's win at Loyola (28 of 56) and followed that effort with a combined 27 points in Wednesday's loss to Wichita State. They are averaging 18.2 points per game.
  • Bradley boasts five of the Valley's top 10 freshman scorers, including league leader Dwayn Lautier-Ogunleye (8.5).
The Series

The series between the Braves and Bears began in 1991 when Missouri State joined the MVC. Since then, MSU has reeled of a 34-19 record against the Braves, including an 11-14 mark in Peoria.
Last season, the teams split the two meetings with BU scoring a 61-59 win at Carver Arena (1/24/15) and the Bears taking an 80-77 triple-overtime win at JQH Arena (2/25/15).

Scouting the Braves

Bradley boasts one of the youngest teams in college basketball with a 14-man roster comprised of 10 freshmen. The Braves, in fact, have 5 of the top 10 freshman scorers in The Valley, including Dwayne Lautier-Ogunleye (6-3, G, London, England) who averages 8.5 points and 4.3 rebounds per game with a team-high 43 assists. First-year head coach Brian Wardle also turns to sophomore Donte Thomas (6-7, F) for 8.6 points and 5.4 rebounds per game, while freshman Antoine Pittman (6-1, G) scores 7.5 per game. The Braves are 2-6 at home this season and are coming off their biggest win of the season with Wednesday's 54-53 decision at Loyola.

Coach Paul Lusk

Paul Lusk (Southern Illinois, 1995) is 64-82 (.438) in his fifth season at MSU and 66-105 (.386) in his sixth season overall as a head coach. He is 32-45 in MVC games (22-17 at home, 10-28 on the road), 2-4 in MVC Tournament games and 30-33 against all non-conference foes (20-11 at JQH Arena, 9-12 away and 1-10 at neutral sites). In all games, he is 42-28 at home, 19-40 on the road, and 3-14 at neutral sites. Lusk is 6-2 against Bradley, including a 2-2 mark at Carver Arena.
The 44-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 17th 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.
Lusk finished third in the MVC Coach of the Year voting in 2014 and was a finalist for the Skip Prosser Man of the Year Award that same year. He was also named one of the Top 25 high-major assistants by FoxSports.com in 2010, and CollegeSportsMadness.com named him MVC coach of the year in 2012. He is a member of the Illinois Basketball Hall of Fame after scoring 2,743 points during a highly-touted prep career at Wesclin High in New Baden, Ill. He went on to play 107 college games at Iowa and Southern Illinois, earning All-MVC second-team honors in 1994 for the Salukis.

Miller Earns Award for Fourth Time

For the fourth time this season, Missouri State junior guard Dequon Miller (Charleston, W.Va.) has been named Missouri Valley Conference Newcomer of the Week, the league announced Jan. 11.
For the week, Miller had two game-winning shots -- the first on a layup with 6.1 seconds left against Northern Iowa on Jan. 6 and the second on a jumper at Loyola with 3.4 seconds left. Miller tallied a team-high 16 points at Loyola with 4 assists and averaged 11.5 points per game on the week with a total of 5 assists and three 3-pointers. He is j
Since the weekly newcomer award began in 2003-04, only Miller and six other MVC players have won the award four times in their rookie season, including former Bear Anthony Downing (4 times) in 2011-12.

Freshmen Step Up in Key Road Win

MSU's four freshman accounted for half the Bears' points in the team's Jan. 9 win at Loyola to give the Bears their first MVC road victory since 12/31/14. Led by Obediah Church's 10 points, MSU's three true freshmen and one redshirt freshman combined for 28 of 56 points at Gentile Arena on a day with three MSU starters on the shelf with injuries. The quarted also tallied 27 (of 62) points Wednesday vs. Wichita.
For the season, MSU's freshmen have accounted for 309 points, 18.2 points per game and 27.5 percent of the team's total scoring.

MWC-MVC Challenge Series

The Mountain West and Missouri Valley conferences have revived a Challenge Series that will feature head-to-head competition between 10 MWC and 10 MVC teams this season. The MWC won the last Challenge Series in 2012 (6-3). MWC teams now have an all-time 28-17 edge in Series games from 2009-15. The Mountain West won this year's series, 6-4:

  • Air Force at Southern Illinois SIU, 77-75
  • Illinois State at San Diego State SDSU, 71-60
  • Colorado State at UNI CSU, 84-78
  • Wyoming at Indiana State INS, 70-55
  • Loyola at New Mexico NM, 75-51
  • Utah State at Missouri State, USU 69-68
  • UNLV at Wichita State, WSU 56-50
  • Drake at Nevada, Nevada 79-71
  • Bradley at Boise State, BSU 90-70
  • Evansville at Fresno State, UE 85-77

Missouri State is now 1-3 all-time in the Mountain West-Missouri Valley Challenge.

Up Next

The Bears wrap a two-game league road swing Wednesday (Jan. 20) at Drake at 7 p.m. The game will air live on KOZL-27 locally with extended coverage on the Missouri State Television Network and ESPN3.

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