Missouri State (17-9) at Illinois State (14-12)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Tuesday, February 18, 8:05 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Redbird Arena (10,200) -- Normal, Illinois. Television: ESPN3.com, Full Court. Home Record: Missouri State 12-2, Illinois State 10-3. Away Record: Missouri State 4- 6, Illinois State 3-8. Neutral Record: Missouri State 1-1, Illinois State 1-1. Conference Record: Missouri State 7-7, Illinois State 7-7. Series Record: Illinois State leads, 35-27.
GAME NOTES: The Illinois State Redbirds ended a two-game losing skid with a victory Saturday, and now they'll seek their second in a row when the Missouri State Bears travel to Normal for a Missouri Valley Conference showdown at Redbird Arena.
Missouri State has lost two of its last three games, including a 60-58 setback at the hands of Northern Iowa Saturday. The Bears sport a 17-9 overall record, but seven of their nine total losses have come in conference play this season. MSU has an even 7-7 record in the MVC.
Illinois State defeated Bradley on Saturday, 70-54, which ended the two-game losing streak. Still, the Redbirds, have lost five of their last eight games, and sit on a 7-7 record in the conference - identical to Missouri State's conference record.
Illinois State holds the lead in the all-time series between the two MVC programs, 35-27. The Redbirds are 21-6 against Missouri State in Normal, but lost to the Bears earlier this season, 78-70, in overtime.
Missouri State was set for an overtime match against Northern Iowa on Saturday, but it wasn't in the cards for the Bears, who lost on a tip-in by the Panthers' Seth Tuttle with one second remaining on the clock. Austin Ruder scored 15 points to pace Missouri State, while Jarmar Gulley notched a double- double with 14 points and 11 rebounds. Dorrian Williams added 11 points in the heartbreaking loss.
Gulley has been the go-to man for the Bears this season, leading the team in scoring with a 14.8 ppg average on 47.6 percent shooting from the floor. Gulley has been a solid all-around player this season, averaging a team-high 6.2 rpg with another team best in steals at 40. Williams tops the squad with 91 assists on the year, but averages just 5.7 ppg. The Bears as a team are netting 71 ppg through 26 games played.
Illinois State didn't have much trouble dismantling the Braves on Saturday, although the Redbirds held just a three-point lead at the end of the first half. It was the second period where things opened up and ISU created some separation for the win. Daishon Knight scored a game-high 26 points for Illinois State, connecting on 5-of-7 from 3-point range in the contest. Paris Lee chipped in 13 points for Illinois State, and Bobby Hunter added 10 with a team-high five assists.
Knight leads the team in scoring this season with a 13.1 ppg average, but is shooting just 37 percent from the floor on the year. Knight's 4.4 rpg is tied for the team lead with Reggie Lynch, and 56 assists is third on the team. Hunter, who leads the squad with 66 assists on the season, is second in scoring with 10.8 ppg, while Zach Lofton checks in at third with 10.4 ppg. Lynch adds an impressive 64 blocked shots to his stat line.
Missouri State could only scrape by in overtime on its home court against Illinois State. Now, in Normal where the Redbirds have dominated historically, the tide seems to be turned.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Illinois State 75, Missouri State 71
02/18 10:31:50 ET