WSU is coming off a 93-86 triple-overtime loss at Drake on Saturday. Coach Gregg Marshall’s squad committed a season-high 18 turnovers against the Bulldogs to nullify 27 and 25 points respectively by Garrett Stutz and Joe Ragland.
The Shockers return three starters from a 29-8 club that won the 2011 NIT. WSU brings an 18-4 overall record to town and is 15-3 on the road over the past two years. The Shockers currently rank 30th in the nation in field goal percentage (.479).
COACH Paul Lusk:
Paul Lusk (Southern Illinois, 1995) is 13-10 in his first season at MSU and 15-33 in two years overall. He is 6-5 in MVC play (3-3 at home, 3-2 on the road), 7-4 at JQH Arena, 6-4 on the road, and 0-2 at neutral sites. He is coaching against Wichita State for the first time and is also 1-1 against Top 25 opponents.
Lusk took the reigns as MSU’s 17th head coach on April 1, 2011. He 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 after playing in three NCAA Tourneys as a player at SIU.
THE TEN COUNT:
Anthony Downing (Jr., G, Atchison, Kan.) is this week’s MVC Newcomer of the Week. This is the third time he has been recognized with the honor this season and the sixth time the Bears have received the award in 2011-12. Downing also received the distinction on Nov. 14 and Jan. 2. He averaged 12.5 points per game with 5 three-pointers on the week, including 16 points in Saturday’s home win over UNI. He registered 3 three-pointers, all in the second half, and was 3-for-3 at the free throw line against the Panthers. MSU improved to 4-1 when Downing scores 16 or more points.
Jarmar Gulley (Jr., G/F, Beaumont, Texas) returned to the Bears’ starting lineup for Saturday’s win over UNI and responded with a career-high 10 rebounds to match Kyle Weems for game-high distinction. Perhaps more impressive is that four of his boards were on the offensive end to give him 7 offensive caroms for the week. He came one point shy of his first career double-double on Saturday and finished the week averaging 9.5 points, 8.0 rebounds and 2.5 assists.
A total of 12 Division I teams have eight or more road wins this year. No BCS conference team has more than five, and three MVC teams have six or more, including Creighton (8), Missouri State (6), and Wichita State (6).
The Bears moved up two spots to No. 5 in the nation this week in turnovers per game (10.43), the best in the MVC. MSU trails only Wisconsin (8.9), Purdue (9.4), Northwestern (10.40) and Notre Dame (10.41) among the national leaders. Last season, MSU finished 7th among 336 Division I teams in fewest turnovers (10.3). (See sidebar on page 5)
Michael Bizoukas (Sr., G, Munster, Ind.), ranks No. 3 in the nation in assist-to-turnover ratio (+3.39) and 21st in assists (6.0). He leads the MVC in both categories and also needs 4 points for 300 in his career. (See sidebar on page 6)
In 125 career games, Kyle Weems (Sr., F, Topeka, Kan.) has led MSU in scoring 50 times (40 percent). He has also scored in double figures 102 times in his career (82 percent), which is tied for the national lead among active Division I players with Alex Young of IUPUI. His current streak of 22 straight double-digit scoring games is the second-longest of his career.