Missouri State Bears Beat Grambling State 97-67 At JQH Arena
Grambling State's Chase Comier is defended by MSU guard Austin Ruder during first half action of Wednesday's game at JQH Arena.
The MSU Bears are undefeated through three games, winning big over Grambling State 97-67 Wednesday night at JQH Arena.
The 97 points are the highest total for the Bears since a 101-61 win at home over Central Arkansas on December 4th, 2010.
The Bears, who led 39-30 at the half, pulled away early in the second half and coasted to a victory in front of 4,216 fans.
Missouri State shot an amazing 80.8% from the field in the second half (21-26), breaking a JQH Arena record (previous best percentage was .714).
Grambling State jumped ahead early, 4-0, but the Bears scored 11 unanswered points and went on a 19-5 run to go up 19-9 with 11:56 left in the first half.
The Tigers got as close as six when Chase Comier drained a three pointer to make it a 35-29 game with 2:55 left in the half.
Emmanuel Addo added a bucket and a couple of free throws in the final two and a half minutes of the half to put his team up by nine heading into the locker room.
It didn't take long for MSU to pull away in the second half, taking a 16 point lead, 52-36, when Jarmar Gulley hit a shot with 16:13 on the clock.
Austin Ruder's three pointer with 12:55 remaining extended the advantage to 21 points, 61-40.
Sophomore guard Marcus Marshall put the Bears up by 30 with 6:30 left when he it a layup, was fouled, and connected on a free throw to make the score 78-48.
Marshall had 17 points to lead MSU, while Addo added 14, and went a perfect 8-8 from the free throw line.
In fact, everyone who Coach Paul Lusk put on the floor, scored, including Michael Simpson and Bruce Marshall, who each hit a three pointer down the stretch.
Freshman guard Devon Thomas provided a spark off the bench, scoring eight points and leading the Bears in minutes with 26. "It feels good to push the ball up the court. You've got teammates really good at catching the ball and running the wings. That just makes it even better."
Senior Keith Pickens, who hurt his ribs and back in the Tulsa game, stayed on the bench as Lusk said he just wanted to give him a game to rest.
The Bears hit 18 of 25 free throw attempts for the game, with Grambling State going 19-24.
A'Torri Shine had 20 points to lead the Tigers, while Remond Brown put in 16.
MSU hit 11-25 from beyond the arc, while Grambling State was only four of 17.
Marcus Marshall says his team came out sluggish in the first half. "In the locker room we had a little halftime talk and everybody got fired up and we came out and played better in the second half."
Lusk says the message to his team at halftime was pretty simple. "I just didn't like where we were at from a mental standpoint," Lusk said. "I thought that second group came in and sparked us the first half, but then again we kind of played to the score and played to the competition. I was disappointed with that, but I think we responded the second half, and now it's on to the next game."
Lusk says Grambling State played zone defense the entire game. "We knew they would, and the thing I tried telling our guys, just because someone zones you doesn't give you the green light to shoot a three on the first half. You have to probe a little bit, and I just thought they were taking quick ones."
Addo, a 6'8, 230 pound senior transfer, had the best game of his short MSU career. Lusk says he has high expectations of the big guy. "I thought he missed a couple rebounds, and I'm on him. But he's got more in him. At half, I think he had six (points) and four (rebounds), and he was probably feeling pretty good about. I told him he should have had 12 and eight. But he was good. He did some good things for us."
Addo says he made some adjustments to his game in the second half. "After the speech in the locker room, we had to kick it up a notch. I definitely think the intensity level went up a little bit."
The Bears (3-0), will host Hampton Sunday afternoon at 2:05 at JQH Arena.
Grambling State, who hasn't won a game since March, 2012, drops to 0-3.