Missouri State (7-16) at Northern Iowa (12-11)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Tuesday, February 5, 8 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: McLeod Center (6,650) -- Cedar Falls, Iowa. Television: ESPN3.com. Home Record: Missouri St. 6-6, UNI 10-2. Away Record: Missouri St. 1-8, UNI 2-5. Neutral Record: Missouri St. 0-2, UNI 0-4. Conference Record: Missouri State 5-6, UNI 5-6. Series Record: Missouri State leads, 40-23.
GAME NOTES: Hitting the road where they have won only once this season, the Missouri State Bears try their luck again as they take on the Northern Iowa Panthers in Missouri Valley Conference play at the McLeod Center.
The Bears, who have topped only Drake (77-65) on the road this time last month, have actually won two of their last three outings overall, thanks to a narrow 62-61 triumph over Evansville this past Saturday afternoon. However, even with the victory Missouri State is still one game under .500 in league play at 5-6.
Over on the other side the Panthers, who are 43-17 in conference play all-time in this building, are just like Missouri State at the moment with five wins in 11 chances against the rest of the MVC. Also in action over the weekend, UNI picked up a surprising win against Wichita State, 57-52, to snap a two-game slide.
As far as the all-time series is concerned, Missouri State is ahead of the Panthers by a 40-23 count, thanks in part to a 63-51 win in the most recent meeting last season. The teams have played some tight games in recent years as prior to the 12-point win the last time out for the Bears, the previous four meetings were all decided by just a single point.
Anthony Downing's 3-pointer with 43 seconds remaining in the second half proved to be the difference, as Missouri State then held on for the one-point win over Evansville on Saturday. Downing finished with just nine points as he shot 4-of-12 from the floor, while Marcus Marshall accounted for a team-high 14 points. Off the bench, the Bears got a spark from Christian Kirk and Nathan Scheer with 12 and 11 points, respectively. The only player to have started all 23 games for the Bears this season, Downing is responsible for a team-best 14.2 ppg and he is also first with 64 assists and 26 steals. Marshall checks in with 10.0 ppg, but he is shooting just under 40 percent from the floor and that has brought the entire unit down to 41.2 percent for the season.
Against nationally-ranked Wichita State over the weekend, the Panthers held the visitors to just five trips to the free-throw line and forced 13 turnovers as UNI pulled out the win. Anthony James scored a team-best 16 points on 5- of-11 shooting from the floor, while Seth Tuttle accounted for eight poi nts, eight rebounds and four blocked shots, as the team survived 56.3 percent accuracy at the charity stripe. For the season, the team is scoring a modest 66.9 ppg, with four players generating at least 10.0 ppg. James is responsible for a team-best 12.4 ppg, although his mere 29.0 percent shooting behind the 3-point line is severely lacking. Defensively, the Panthers are limiting the competition to 61.8 ppg as teams make good on only 67.7 percent at the free- throw line.
Playing at home is crucial for the Panthers because that's where most of their success has come this season. There might be a bit of a let-down after their upset win versus Wichita State, but still the Panthers have the defense to take charge on Tuesday night.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Northern Iowa 64, Missouri State 57
02/05 10:31:53 ET