Missouri State (15-9, 6-5 MVC) looks to protect its share of third place in the Missouri Valley Conference standings on Saturday afternoon while trying to secure its first season sweep of Evansville since 2014 when the Bears travel to the Ford Center on Saturday (3 p.m.) on KOZL-TV and the MSU Television Network.
|Missouri State Bears (15-9, 6-5 MVC) at Evansville Purple Aces (10-14, 1-10 MVC)
|Date and Time
||Saturday, Feb. 4, 2017, 3 p.m. (Central)
||Ford Center (8,930) | Evansville, Ind.
||Evansville Game | UNI Game
||KTXR (101.3 FM) (Art Hains, Mike Keltner) | MSU Radio Network | Listen Live
||KOZL-TV | MSU Television Network (Don West, Kelby Stuckey)
||MSU leads 44-42 | Last Meeting: MSU 55, UE 51 (1/11/17)
||Missouri State | Evansville | MVC Notebook | MSU Media Guide
||Facebook | Athletics Twitter | Basketball Twitter | Instagram | #MSUBears
||The Bears wrap a two-game MVC road swing on Thursday, Feb. 9 at Wichita State (8 p.m.) before returning to JQH Arena on Sunday, Feb. 12 against UNI (3 p.m.) | UNI Tickets
The rivalry between the Bears and Aces dates back to 1959 when the clubs met for the NCAA Division II title at Roberts Stadium in Evansville. The Bears lead the all-time series, 34-32, including a 10-20 record on the road.
Last season, the Aces swept three games against MSU, but saw their five-game win streak against the Bears snapped on Jan. 11, 2017 at JQH Arena with a 55-51 Bears win. Jarrid Rhodes
posted 14 points, while Dequon Miller
poured in 13 and Alize Johnson
snagged 16 boards. MSU held Evansville to just 16 first-half points and to 2-of-8 on 3-pointers. Ryan Tayor and Jaylon Brown scored 19 apiece for the Purple Aces who were out-rebounded by a 39-30 margin in Springfield. .
Scouting the Aces
Tenth-year head coach Marty Simmons returns seven lettermen and two starters froma 25-9 club that went 12-6 (second) in the MVC last season, but did not advance to postseason play.
Senior Jaylon Brown (G, 6-0) leads the Aces at 20.6 points per game, while dishing out 3.1 assists and converting 86 percent of his abundant 174 foul shots. Sophomore Ryan Taylor (G, 6-6) is averaging 14.9 points with 40 3-pointers and 14 blocks. Veteran David Howard (F, 6-8) is Evansville's top rebounder at 4.7 per game to go with 13 blocked shots..
The Ten Count
- The Bears enter the weekend having played in three straight overtime contests -- all decided by one point -- an MSU record for consecutive OT games. The NCAA record is four straight set by Jacksonville (1982) and Illinois State (1985).
- Alize Johnson (Jr., Williamsport, Pa.) continues to lead the league with 10.8 rebounds per game. He ranks 7th nationally in double-doubles (14) and 11th in rebounds per game. He has 17 double-figure rebound games this year.
- MSU's 203 3-pointers this season ranks seventh in program history and is just the eighth Bears team to hit 200 treys in a season. The 2013-14 team (230) was the most-recent to do so with the 2009-10 club hitting a record 252.
- The Bears have not been out-rebounded in 12 games. USC (Dec. 22) was the last team to better MSU on the glass.
- Austin Ruder (Jr., Nixa, Mo.) is 4 points shy of 700 for his career. He would become the 72nd Missouri State player to reach that milestone. He is also just 12 points behind teammate Dequon Miller on MSU's career scoring chart.
- Obediah Church (So., Springfield, Ill.) is on the brink of two milestones. His next start will be the 50th of his career. He is also sitting at 99 career blocked shots and would become just the sixth MSU player to reach 100 or more.
- Paced by super sophomore Jarred Dixon (Kansas City, Mo.), Missouri State's bench has outscored its opponents' reserves in 21 of 24 games this season. Dixon is coming off back-to-back double-figure games in reserve, including 15 points and 5 assists in Tuesday's win over Loyola at JQH Arena.
- MSU is shooting more than 100 points better from the foul line on the road (.778) than at home (.672) this season.
- The Bears are 2-3 in MVC road games this season and are looking for their first win in Evansville since Feb. 5, 2014. The 2013-14 season was also the last time MSU won the regular-season series with the Aces.
- Evansville's Jaylon Brown leads the Missouri Valley Conference with 20.4 points per game, which ranks 28th nationally among all Division I players.