Bears Return Home for Key Challenge Against Illinois State

Bears Return Home for Key Challenge Against Illinois State

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Jan. 28, 2016

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

Missouri State Bears (8-13, 4-5 MVC) vs. Illinois State Redbirds (12-10, 6-3 MVC)
Sat., Jan. 30, 2016
JQH Arena, Springfield, Mo. | 3:04 p.m. | ESPN3
Location JQH Arena (11,000) | Springfield, Mo. | @JQHArena
Promotions 1986 Team Reunion | Salute to Elected Officials | Coaches vs. Cancer Suits & Sneakers
MSU Tickets
Game 22 vs. Illinois State
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Television ESPN3 with Ned Reynolds & Kelby Stuckey
Radio Missouri State Radio Network with Art Hains & Mike Keltner
Online Coverage
Live Audio Stream | ESPN3 |
| Basketball Home Page
Connect @MissouriStBears | @MSUBearsHoops | Bears on Facebook |Bears on Instagram | #MSUBears | #MVCHoops
All-Time Series
ISU leads 39-28 | MSU Streak: L3 | Last Meeting: ISU 74, MSU 61 (12/30/15)
Up Next
MSU hosts Bradley on Tuesday (Feb. 2) at 7:05 p.m. on ESPN3
The 10 Count
  • Staffs of the Bears and Redbirds will both be participating in the NABC Coaches vs. Cancer Suits and Sneakers promotion this weekend to increase cancer awareness and promote healthy living.
  • Members of MSU's memorable 1986 squad are being recognized at halftime today. Thirty years ago, Charlie Spoonhour's team finished 24-8 overall en route to the NIT quarterfinals after wins over Pitt and Marquette at Hammons Student Center. Winston Garland averaged 16.5 points per game for that team, while Greg Bell led MSU in rebounding (5.8), and Basil Robinson led the club with 5.3 assists and a .562 FG percentage.
  • MSU is gunning for its fifth win during the month of January, something it has not achieved since the 2010-11 season.
  • Jarred Dixon (Kansas City, Mo.) is coming off a career-high 19 points in Wednesday's game at Indiana State. The last MSU freshman to pack 19 points into a game was Chris Kendrix vs. Indiana State (2/18/15).
  • Dequon Miller (Jr., Charleston, W.Va.) averaged 22.5 points and made 92 percent of his free throws (11-for-12) in two games last week to earn MVC Newcomer of the Week (announced Monday) for the fifth time this season.
  • Miller (19.0 ppg) and Dixon (13.7 ppg) have both scored in double figures three straight games.
  • Since making 20-of-24 free throws at Drake on Jan. 20, the Bears are 24-for-45 (.533) at the line in the two games since. MSU is 2-1 this season when converting 80 percent or better at the foul line.
  • Tyler McCullough (Fayetteville, Ark.) went 3-for-5 from the field at Indiana State with 5 rebounds in 16 minutes.
  • Robin Thompson (St. Louis) also stood out at Indiana State, posting 8 points and 6 boards (4 offensive) in 21 minutes.
  • Camyn Boone (Sr., Mesa, Ariz.) needs just 7 points to reach 500 for his MSU career (51 games) and also needs 8 rebounds to reach the 300 milestone. He missed Wednesday's game at Indiana State with an ankle injury.
The Series

Illinois State leads the all-time series, 39-28, but the Bears are 19-11 in games played in Springfield. ISU has won 3 in a row in the series and is looking for its second straight season sweep of MSU.
Earlier this season in Normal, the Redbirds knocked down 15 3-pointers -- 10 in the second half -- and overcame an early 13-point deficit to beat the Bears, 74-61. Dequon Miller led MSU with 17 points, while Camyn Boone added 12 points and 8 rebounds.

Scouting the Redbirds

Fourth-year head coach Dan Muller is 6-3 at the midway point in the league slate with the Redbirds posting a 2-2 ledger on the Valley road in the first half.
ISU has four players averaging double figures, including DeVaughn Akoon-Purcell (G, 6-5, Sr.) who scores 14.7 per game with 4.7 rebounds. MiKyle McIntosh (F, 6-7, So.) averages 10.7 points and 5.0 rebounds, and Paris Lee (G, 6-0, Jr.) averages 10.4 points with 34 steals.

Coach Paul Lusk

Paul Lusk (Southern Illinois, 1995) is 66-84 (.440) in his fifth season at MSU and 68-107 (.389) in his sixth season overall as a head coach. He is 34-47 in MVC games (22-18 at home, 12-29 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 42-29 at home, 21-41 on the road, and 3-14 at neutral sites. Lusk is 3-7 vs. Illinois State and 2-2 against the Redbirds at JQH 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 in 2010, and 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 MVC Newcomer Award for Fifth Time

For the fifth time this season, Missouri State junior guard Dequon Miller (Charleston, W.Va.) was named Missouri Valley Conference Newcomer of the Week on Jan. 25.
For the week, Miller posted a pair of 20-point games with a career-high 23-point effort helping the Bears secure a come-from-behind win at Drake on Jan. 20. He averaged 22.5 points per game for the week and was also 11-for-12 (.917) at the foul line with six 3-pointers, 4 assists and 6 rebounds.
Since the award began in 2003-04, only three other MVC players have won the award more times in their rookie season -- seven-time winner Doug McDermott (Creighton 2010-11), and six-time winners Cleanthony Early (Wichita State 2012-13) and Marcellus Sommerville (Bradley 2003-04).
Only four Missouri State players -- Danny Moore (1997), Mike Wallace (2001), Spencer Laurie (2007) and Adam Leonard (2010) -- have earned the prestigious honor of MVC Newcomer of the Year.

Sixth Place at the Turn

After being picked eighth in the MVC preseason poll, the Bears have compiled a 3-2 record on the Valley road, gone 4-4 in January and sit in sixth place at 4-5 in the league standings at the midway point.
Over the previous six seasons, MSU has been 2-7 (2014-15), 4-5 (2013-14), 4-5 (2012-13), 5-4 (2011-12), 8-1 (2010-11) and 4-5 (2009-10), respectively at the turn. The Bears made postseason appearances in three of those seasons with CIT bids in 2010 and 2014 and an NIT appearance in 2011.

Up Next

MSU hosts Bradley on Tuesday, Feb. 2 at 7:05 p.m. at JQH Arena.

MVC Standings
Team MVC Pct. Overall Pct.
Wichita State 9-0 1.000 15-5 .750
Southern Illinois 7-1 .875 18-3 .857
Evansville 6-2 .750 17-4 .810
Indiana State 6-3 .667 12-9 .571
Illinois State 6-3 .667 12-10 .545
Missouri State 4-5 .444 8-13 .381
Northern Iowa 3-6 .333 11-11 .500
Loyola Chicago 2-7 .222 9-12 .429
Bradley 1-8 .111 3-19 .136
Drake 0-9 .000 5-16 .238

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