MSU leads the all-time series with Indiana State, 37-20, including a 24-4 ledger in Springfield and 2-1 mark at JQH Arena.
The Bears can clinch the No. 3 seed in next week’s State Farm MVC Tournament with a win tonight and losses by Illinois State (vs. Wichita State) and Evansville (at Creighton). Arch Madness runs March 1-4 at Scottrade Center in St. Louis.
COACH Paul Lusk:
Paul Lusk (Southern Illinois, 1995) is 16-13 (.551) in his first season at MSU and 18-36 (.333) in two years overall. He is 9-7 in MVC play (4-4 at home, 5-3 on the road), 8-6 at JQH Arena, 8-5 on the road, and 0-2 at neutral sites. He is 1-0 against Indiana State (0-0 at JQH). Lusk is also 1-2 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:
On Feb. 17, MSU’s Kyle Weems (Sr., F, Topeka, Kan.) was named as one of 25 finalists for the Lou Henson Award as the Mid-Major National Player of the Year. Fan voting, which accounts for one-third of the tally, began Friday at www.VoteLouHenson.com.
On Feb. 20, Anthony Downing (Jr., G, Atchison, Kan.) was named MVC Newcomer of the Week for the fourth time this season. In two games last week, he averaged a team-high 15.0 points per game while firing at an impressive 13-for-25 clip from the perimeter. He was 3-for-3 from three-point distance against No. 24 Wichita State on Feb. 15, helping establish himself as one of the league’s top-scoring juniors. Over the last three games, Downing is averaging 15.3 points and 5.3 rebounds and made 19-of-36 (.528) field goals with 11 assists.
During the Division I era (1982-83 to present), the Bears are 27-2 on Senior Night, including a 3-0 mark against the Sycamores. The only modern losses on senior night took place 2/27/89 vs. Valparaiso (62-59) and 2/24/09 vs. Creighton (65-59).
Bears’ sophomore Keith Pickens (So., G/F, St. Louis, Mo.) has led the squad in rebounding three of the last four games. He eclipsed his career high in rebounding in back-to-back games recently, snagging a game-high 9 boards on Feb. 8 at Southern Illinois before collecting 12 caroms (and a career-high 4 blocked shots) on Feb. 12 against Bradley. He is averaging a team-high 7.7 rebounds over the last four games.
Over the last three contests, MSU opponents are a collective 30-for-60 (.500) from three-point range.
Kyle Weems (Sr., F, Topeka, Kan.) is 5 assists shy of 200 for his career. He is on track to become MSU’s first player ever to record 800 rebounds and 200 assists.
Caleb Patterson (Sr., C, Ames, Okla.) is averaging 13.8 points per game -- all off the bench -- since returning from an ankle injury on Feb. 8. MSU was 2-1 in the three games Patterson missed with the injury and 2-2 since his return.
The Bears are 2-7 in Wednesday games this season.
Kyle Weems (Sr., F, Topeka, Kan.) is the fifth player in Missouri State history to score 900 points at home. He currently has 975 points in 69 career games at JQH Arena, joining fellow MSU greats Daryel Garrison (1,138 points/59g/1971-75), Jimmy Dull (990/64/1974-78), Blake Ahearn (939/66/2003-07), and Johnny Murdock (930/60/1991-95).
Michale Bizoukas (Sr., G, Munster, Ind.) ranks 8th in the nation in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.88) and 30th in assists (5.7), both tops in the MVC.