Missouri State (11-3) at Bradley (6-9)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Wednesday, January 8, 8 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Carver Arena (11,094) -- Peoria, Illinois. Television: ESPN3.com. Home Record: Missouri State 8-0, Bradley 6-3. Away Record: Missouri State 2-2, Bradley 0-4. Neutral Record: Missouri State 1-1, Bradley 0-2. Conference Record: Missouri State 1-1, Bradley 1-1. Series Record: Missouri State leads, 31-18.
GAME NOTES: The Bradley Braves finally put an end to their seven-game losing streak with a victory over Drake on Saturday, but now have to turn around and battle the Missouri State Bears in Missouri Valley Conference play Wednesday at Carver Arena.
Missouri State is 11-3 on the season, with its three losses spaced out in between multiple winning streaks. The most recent contest for the Bears was an 89-57 setback against Loyola Chicago on Sunday, so once against Missouri State looks to bounce back into the win column.
The Braves began the season 4-0 and then 5-2 before embarking on a seven-game losing skid that ended with the Jan. 4 defeat of Drake in MVC action. At 6-9 overall, the Braves will look to make it two wins in a row for the first time since mid November.
Missouri State holds the 31-18 edge in the all-time series between these two programs. The Bears took the last matchup on March 1, 2013, 62-54.
The Missouri State loss to Loyola wasn't so much what the Bears didn't do to stop the Ramblers, but rather what the Ramblers did exceptionally well in the contest. Loyola Chicago hit over 60 percent of its shots from the field in the game, leading to a blowout loss for Missouri State, 89-57. Devon Turk got away with 30 points off the bench for the Ramblers, while the Bears managed a measly 39.3 percent shooting from the floor. Marcus Marshall was the high scorer for the Bears, netting 11 points on 4-of-6 shooting. Devon Thomas was the other double-digit scorer for the Bears at 10.
Marshall leads the team in scoring average this season with 13.7 ppg, but the guard has only played in 10 of the team's 14 games. Jarmar Gulley is second on the Bears with 12.9 ppg, having started all 14 contests. He's second on the team in rebounding with a 5.1 rpg mark, while Keith Pickens (nine games played) has the highest average at 6.4 rpg. Freshman Austin Ruder is third on the team with a 7.6 ppg average.
Bradley led from start to finish against Drake for the Braves' first MVC win of the season. Bradley jumped out ahead 12-0 after the opening tip, helping down the Bulldogs and snapping the seven-game losing streak. Only one player scored in double figures for the Braves in the outing - Walt Lemon Jr. netted a game-high 31 points on 12-of-20 shooting, adding three rebounds, two assists and two steals. Auston Barnes was just 1-of-5 shooting for Bradley, but connected on all four free-throw attempts and pulled down a team-high nine rebounds.
Lemon paves the way for the Braves with 16.3 ppg this season on 42.1 percent shooting from the floor. Tyshon Pickett and Omari Grier contribute to the scoring cause with 12.5 ppg and 11.9 ppg, respectively, for the 6-9 Braves. Pickett pulls down a team-best 7 rpg, while Barnes isn't too far behind with 6.6 rpg. Lemon does it all for Bradley, dishing out a team-high 56 assists on the year and recording a team-best 28 steals.
Missouri State hasn't lost back-to-back games all season long, and that shouldn't change against a talented Bradley squad that isn't getting much from other sources besides Lemon.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Missouri State 78, Bradley 68
01/08 11:22:51 ET