ORU leads the all-time series, 5-4, in a rivalry that dates back to 1981. Missouri State is 2-3 in Tulsa, having split the last two games at the Mabee Center, including an 88-76 win there on 12/7/05.
The Golden Eagles have won two in a row in the series, including last year’s 72-52 win at JQH Arena — the Bears’ worst loss ever at JQH Arena at the time. In that game, Warren Niles (21) and Shawn Glover (14) led ORU in scoring as the visitors jumped out to a 40-15 halftime lead and never looked back. MSU got 18 points from Anthony Downing and 10 points and 8 rebounds from Christian Kirk to help overcome a slow start and 2-for-26 team effort from 3-point range.
Paul Lusk (Southern Illinois, 1995) is 34-39 (.466) in his third season at MSU and 36-62 (.367) in his fourth season overall as a head coach. He is 16-20 in MVC games (10-7 at home, 6-13 on the road), 1-2 in MVC Tournament games and 18-19 in all non-conference games (11-6 at JQH Arena, 5-6 away and 2-7 at neutral sites). He is also 21-14 in all home games, 11-18 on the road, and 2-7 at neutral sites. He is 0-2 against Oral Roberts (0-1 in Tulsa).
The 42-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 16th 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.
With the seventh-youngest team in Division I basketball last year, Lusk led MSU to its 42nd straight winning record at home and the fifth-best turnover average in the nation (10.2). The 2012-13 Bears also set high-water marks for most games against ranked opponents with six and the best single-season scoring total for a freshman class in program history (855).
The Bears got 18 points off the bench from Ron Mvouika and committed just six turnovers to dispatch visiting Cameron University, 81-57.
MSU, which never trailed, was also helped on the offensive end by freshman standouts Tyler McCullough and Austin Ruder who pitched in 11 and 10 points, respectively. Jarmar Gulley also added 9 points and a game-high 9 rebounds in the victory.
Cameron was paced by Division II preseason player of the year Craig Foster who tallied 10 points and 5 assists, while Sean McGary added 10 points in a reserve role for the Aggies.
The Bears, who secured their 600th victory as a Division I program, extended their JQH Arena win streak to six games with a solid defensive effort that saw the home club snag eight steals and force 14 CU turnovers. After going into the half with a 16-point advantage, the Bears used pressure defense and timely rebounding to run their advantage to 50-29 less than five minutes into the second stanza.
A 10-2 Bears run early in the second half included four points apiece by McCullough and Emmanuel Addo. Later in the half, Nathan Scheer capped a 6-0 run by the home squad with a layup in traffic afterChristian Kirk and Gavin Thurman started the stretch with scores that pushed MSU ahead by its largest margin of the night, 66-41 with 8:08 remaining.
Mvouika scored 11 of his points in the final seven-and-a-half minutes, while Michael Simpsoncontributed a steal and layup in crunch time to put the game away. Mvouika finished 3-of-5 from beyond the arc and 6-of-10 from the field.
Ruder was the only other MSU player to score multiple 3-pointers as he finished 2-for-5 from downtown with a career-high 3 steals and a pair of assists.
For the night, Missouri State was 28-for-62 (.452) from the field, but just 7-of-24 (.292) from bonus distance. The Bears had another good night at the foul line, knocking down 18-of-23 (.783) attempts.
Despite being out-rebounded by a 37-34 margin, the Bears surrendered just one second-chance point on the night and used 38 bench points and 38 points in the paint to keep the Aggies at arm’s length most of the night.