Missouri State (16-7) at Southern Illinois (9-15)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, February 8, 7 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: SIU Arena (8,339) -- Carbondale, Illinois. Television: MVC-TV. Home Record: MSU 11-1, SIU 6-5. Away Record: MSU 4-5, SIU 2-8. Neutral Record: MSU 1-1, SIU 1-2. Conference Record: MSU 6-5, SIU 5-6. Series Record: Southern Illinois leads, 39-35.
GAME NOTES: Two teams on modest winning streaks meet in Carbondale tonight, as the Missouri State have traveled to take on the Southern Illinois Salukis in a Missouri Valley Conference tilt.
Missouri State has won its last two, including a 66-54 decision at Evansville on Tuesday night. The Bears have now won four of their last five contests overall.
Similarly, Southern Illinois has won three straight. In their last game, the Salukis beat Drake on the road, 74-58.
The Bears have dominated the recent series, winning nine of the last 10 meetings between the schools. The lone loss during that 10-game span came on Feb. 16, 2013.
Jarmar Gulley and Ron Mvouika each had double-doubles for the Missouri State Bears, as they topped Evansville the last time out. Gulley logged 18 points and 12 rebounds for the Bears while Mvouika recorded 14 points and 10 boards. Evansville missed all 13 attempts from beyond the arc in the contest and suffered a 44-34 deficit on the glass.
Gulley (15 ppg, 6.2 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 (8.7 ppg) is the second-best scoring option, although he is only shooting 39.9 percent from the field. Also trending upward is Mvouika (7.7 ppg), who has now reached double figures in three straight games. The Bears will need others to step up moving forward, especially if they hope to maintain their pace on offense, as they rank fourth in the MVC in scoring (72.4 ppg). They are giving up 70.3 ppg, which is next-to-last in the league.
Desmar Jackson netted 24 points as the Southern Illinois Salukis easily rolled to a 74-58 over the Drake Bulldogs. Jackson tallied five rebounds, five assists and six steals to round out his stat line. SIU came out firing in the first half, netting 59.3 percent of its shots from the floor which led to a 46-29 lead at the intermission, and they cruised in the second half en route to the victory.
A starter in every game for the Salukis this season, Jackson is also their top overall scorer and second in the MVC with 20 ppg, thanks to his 49.1 percent shooting from the field and 132-of-171 (.772) effort at the free-throw line where he has made significantly more shots than any one of his teammates has even attempted. Beane and Pendleton check in with 12.4 and 10.1 ppg, respectively, for a group that is producing 68.1 ppg while shooting just 30.9 percent behind the 3-point line.
With both squads having success of late, look for the team with the best player on the court to have the advantage, and in this case the Salukis have Jackson to lead them to victory.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Southern Illinois 74, Missouri State 67
02/08 10:37:44 ET