Missouri State (12-4) at Indiana State (13-3)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Wednesday, January 15, 7:05 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Hulman Center (10,200) -- Terre Haute, Indiana. Television: ESPN3.com. Home Record: MSU 8-1, ISU 6-0. Away Record: MSU 3-2, ISU 6-2. Neutral Record: MSU 1-1, ISU 1-1. Conference Record: MSU 2-2, ISU 4-0. Series Record: Missouri State leads, 38-22.
GAME NOTES: The Indiana State Sycamores will attempt to stay unbeaten in Missouri Valley Conference action on Wednesday night, as they welcome the Missouri State Bears to the Hulman Center.
Missouri State started the season in outstanding fashion with wins in 10 of its 12 non-conference games, but it has come back to Earth in MVC play at 2-2. The Bears most recently had the unenviable task of hosting undefeated Wichita State on Saturday, and while they built a healthy lead midway through the second half, they eventually fell on the wrong end of a 72-69 overtime bout.
In addition to starting league play 4-0, Indiana State has won six straight games overall to improve to 13-3, its best start to a season since beginning the 1978-79 campaign 16-0. The Sycamores defeated Bradley at home on Saturday afternoon, 62-59, to improve to 6-0 at the Hulman Center.
Missouri State holds a 38-22 advantage in the all-time series with Indiana State. Each team won on its home floor a season ago.
The Bears appeared to be in great shape to pull off the upset against Wichita State over the weekend, as it held a 19-point lead midway through the second half before coughing that huge advantage up down the stretch and eventually fell in the overtime period. After shooting 65.2 percent from the field in the opening stanza, the Bears were just 9-of-36 (.250) from the floor in the second half and overtime. Austin Ruder scored 17 points on 5-of-8 from 3-point range, Jarmar Gulley tallied 15 points and 14 rebounds and Marcus Marshall also scored 15 in the losing effort.
Despite Missouri State's impressive record this season, it is actually outshot by its opponents from the field, 43.4 percent to 43.3, but it is still able to boast positive margins both in terms of scoring (+2.8) and turnovers (+1.8). Marshall leads the way with 14.3 ppg, draining 79.1 percent of his free-throw tries. Gulley puts up 13.8 ppg and 5.6 rpg, Ruder (8.2 ppg) is 36-of-84 from 3-point range and six others net between 5.4 and 6.9 ppg on the balanced squad.
The Sycamores played a tight contest with Bradley all game in Saturday's contest but used an 8-0 run late in the second half to pull away and remain unbeaten in the MVC. They shot a lackluster 39.1 percent from the field on the afternoon but were able to hold Bradley to an even lower percentage (.349) and outscored it at the foul line, 20-11. Jake Odum was just 2-of-5 from the field but went 8-of-13 from the free-throw line en route to a team-best 12 points. Justin Gant and Dawon Cummings were also noteworthy with 11 points each.
Indiana State has risen to first place in the league by performing well on both ends of the floor, shooting a lofty 48.7 percent from the field for 77.1 ppg while allowing just 69.2 ppg on 44.8 percent shooting. Odum pours in 13.0 ppg and has also been a strong floor general, handing out 78 assists compared to just 33 turnovers. Manny Arop (12.4 ppg) and Gant (11.8 ppg) both shoot greater than 40 percent from 3-point range, while Cummings (10.7 ppg) and Khristian Smith (10.4 ppg) round out the deep team.
Although Missouri State gave up its lead over the weekend, it was still an encouraging sign that it was able to hang with nationally-ranked Wichita State, and it should be in the thick of the MVC race until the very end. Still, Indiana State has played outstanding this season, especially at home, and the Sycamores will find a way to pull this one out down the stretch.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Indiana State 74, Missouri State 70
01/15 10:34:34 ET