Missouri State (14-6) at Drake (11-9)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Wednesday, January 29, 8:05 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Knapp Center (7,152) -- Des Moines, Iowa. Television: KY3-TV, ESPN3. Home Record: MSU 10-1, Drake 5-4. Away Record: MSU 3-4, Drake 4-4. Neutral Record: MSU 1-1, Drake 2-1. Conference Record: MSU 4-4, Drake 2-6. Series Record: Missouri State leads, 37-10.
GAME NOTES: Hoping to continue their recent dominance in the series, the Missouri State Bears make their way to the Knapp Center to do battle with the Drake Bulldogs in Missouri Valley Conference action on Wednesday night.
Missouri State has won their last two, and six of last 10 overall. The Bears took down Southern Illinois on Saturday, 69-63.
Drake comes into this contest as losers of six of its last seven outings. The Bulldogs were handled last Saturday by nationally-ranked Wichita State, 78-61.
The Bears have won seven in a row in a series that dates back to 1986. Missouri State leads the rivalry by a 37-10 count, including a 15-8 edge in Des Moines.
Jarmar Gulley posted a double-double with 17 points and 11 rebounds to lead the Missouri State Bears in their win over Southern Illinois. Gavin Thurman added 14 points, Dorrian Williams finished with 13 points and Austin Ruder chipped in with 12 points. After a close first half, both teams got hot from the field in the second. The Bears connected on 57.9 percent of their field goal tries and the Salukis hit on 60 percent. Trailing 51-48 with under nine minutes to play, the Bears went on a 8-0 run that put them ahead for good. The Bears got the better production from their bench, with their reserves outscoring their counterparts', 24-4. MSU also finished with a 20-11 scoring advantage from the free-throw line.
Gulley (14.8 ppg, 6.1 rpg) leads the Bears in scoring. Marcus Marshall (14.3 ppg) is the only other player averaging in double figures for the team, but he is out indefinitely after undergoing right knee surgery. In Marshall's absence, Ruder (8.1 ppg) is the second-best scoring option, although he is only shooting 39.3 percent from the field. The Bears will need others to step up going forward, especially if they hope to maintain their pace on offense as they rank fourth in the MVC in scoring (72.6 ppg).
Aaron Hawley tallied 16 points and Chris Caird had 15 for Drake in its recent loss to Wichita State. Jordan Daniels tallied 12 points in defeat. With Wichita State leading at the break, 37-29, the Shockers coasted the rest of the way, pushing their lead to as many as 25 points. Drake had just 10 points in the paint, compared to 32 for the Shockers.
Hawley (10.6 ppg) is one of three players averaging in double figures for the Bulldogs, although he is certainly not the team's first option. That distinction belongs to Carter (17.4 ppg), who is third in the league in scoring. Daniels (12.7 ppg) can also knock down shots. As a team, the Bulldogs are scoring 71.2 ppg and shooting 45.5 percent from the floor, ranking fifth in the MVC in each category.
Missouri State has steadily been learning to play with Marshall in the lineup and they should be able to handle a Drake squad that is struggling to find wins.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Missouri State 73, Drake 67
01/29 10:32:06 ET