Bears Open Valley Play Wednesday at Illinois State

GAME 7 – Missouri State Bears (4-2) at Illinois State Redbirds (3-4)
Date and Time Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2021 | 7:00 p.m. (Central)
Location Redbird Arena (10,200) | Normal, Illinois
Tickets | (309) 438-8000
Radio KWTO (101.3 FM) (Art Hains, Mike Keltner) | MSU Radio Network | Listen Live
Television ESPN+ (Kurt Pregler, Scott Sudikoff | Watch
Series Illinois State leads 44-34 | Last Meeting: MSU 72, ILST 62 (2/7/21) | Box Score
Live Stats Live Stats
Game Notes Missouri State  | Illinois State |  MVC Notebook | MSU Media Guide
Follow Facebook | Athletics Twitter | Basketball Twitter | Instagram | #MSUBears | #BearsUnite
Up Next Saturday, Dec. 4 vs. Brigham Young at JQH Arena | 3 p.m. |  Tickets

The Ten Count

  • Missouri State begins conference play this week with a Wednesday (7 p.m.) matchup at Illinois State in the Missouri Valley Conference opener for both squads. This year’s MVC slate features stand-alone games Dec. 1-2 for all 10 teams before the remaining 17-game conference schedule kicks off on Jan. 2.
  • The Bears are opening their 32nd season in the Missouri Valley Conference and have posted a cumulative 300-256 (.540) league record through their first 31 campaigns in the MVC. In MVC openers, Missouri State is 20-11 all-time, including a 2-1 record under head coach Dana Ford.
  • Bears head coach Dana Ford is a 2006 graduate of Illinois State where he played for coaches Tom Richardson and Porter Moser from 2002-06 as a regular starter, leading the Redbirds in steals his senior year. Ford is 5-2 in his career against Illinois State, including a 5-1 ledger as Missouri State’s head coach.
  • Missouri State is coming off a 3rd-place finish last week at the Naples (Fla.) Invitational in which they defeated Long Beach State (92-66) and George Washington (72-54), while dropping a narrow one-point decision to ETSU (77-76) in the semifinals. As a team, the Bears shot .515 (86-for-167) from the field overall and an amazing .508 (33-for-65) from 3-point range, while scoring 80.0 points per game.
  • The Bears’ 77-76 semifinal loss to East Tennessee in Naples featured an amazing 22 lead changes, 8 ties, and 26 combined 3-pointers between the squads. ETSU’s jumper from David Sloan with 2.5 seconds remaining switched the lead for the final time after MSU’s Demarcus Sharp (Sr., Charleston, Mo.) had given Missouri State the lead with 28 seconds to play. Jaylen Minnett (Sr., Terre Haute, Ind.) tied a school record by going 5-for-5 from 3-point range, while Isiaih Mosley (Jr., Columbia, Mo.) hit 4 treys and posted a team-high 18 points.
  • Gaige Prim (Sr., Aurora, Colo.) was named to the all-tournament team at the Naples Invitational after he led the Bears with 19.0 points and 6.7 rebounds per game. He also recorded 7 assists, 5 blocks and a pair of steals while converting 22-of-38 (.579) field goal attempts.
  • Missouri State has eclipsed 50-percent shooting from the field in 3-of-6 games so far this season, while entering the week ranked 26th nationally with a .493 team field goal percentage. The Bears are now 27-2 under coach Dana Ford they shoot at least 50-percent from the field.
  • Isiaih Mosley (Jr., Columbia, Mo.) leads the Bears and ranks 41st nationally (2nd in the MVC) in scoring average at 19.3 points per game. He is also the MVC’s leader in FT percentage (.917), which ranks 35th nationally.
  • As a team, the Bears rank 19th nationally (.795) in free throw accuracy, 29th in 3-point percentage (.397), 41st in scoring average (81.5) and 47th in fewest turnovers per game (11.0).
  • Gaige Prim (Sr., Aurora, Colo.) ranks 17th nationally and tops in the MVC in rebounds per game (10.3).  
  • Graduate transfer Jaylen Minnett (Sr., Terre Haute, Ind.) eclipsed 300 career 3-pointers in last Wednesday’s win over George Washington, going 4-for-6 from long range against the Colonials. The fifth-year transfer from IUPUI made 11-of-17 (.647) from long range at the three-game Naples event and scored in double figures twice.

Coach Dana Ford

  • Dana Ford (Illinois State, 2006) is 53-42 (.558) in his fourth season as Missouri State head coach, including a 32-13 ledger at JQH Arena, 16-21 record in away games, and 5-8 mark at neutral sites. He is now 110-107 (.507) in his eighth season as a head coach. He is 5-2 all-time against Illinois State (5-1 as Bears head coach).
  • Ford picked up his 100th career victory on Feb. 7, 2021 at Illinois State (72-62).
  • Last season, Ford was named to ESPN’s College Basketball 40 Under 40 list at No. 35 and was on the list of national finalists for both the Skip Prosser Award and Ben Jobe Award. The Bears completed the 2020-21 campaign with a 17-7 overall record and 12-6 ledger in the Missouri Valley Conference (third) before advancing to the MVC Tournament semifinals. Missouri State was 7-2 in road conference games to match a program high-water mark, while Isiaih Mosley and Gaige Prim earned All-MVC first team honors, and Demarcus Sharp earned a spot on the MVC All-Newcomer Team.
  • He was introduced as Missouri State’s 18th men’s basketball coach on March 22, 2018 after coaching the previous four seasons at Tennessee State. The native of Tamms, Illinois was 57-65 (.467) at Tennessee State, including a 52-39 ledger in his last three seasons in Nashville. He coached five All-OVC players and two OVC All-Newcomer Team selections during his tenure at TSU. Under his leadership, TSU doubled its home attendance average and twice earned votes in the AP Top 25 poll in 2016-17.
  • Ford, 37, earned the Ben Jobe Award in 2016 as the nation’s top Division I minority coach. That same year, he was named Ohio Valley Conference Coach of the Year and NABC District 19 Coach of the Year after engineering one of the biggest turnarounds in NCAA history, swaying Tennessee State from a 5-26 record in his first season to a 20-11 mark in 2015-16.
  • He has served as an assistant at Tennessee State, Wichita State and Illinois State and was responsible for recruiting future NBA talents such as Robert Covington (Trail Blazers) and Fred Van Vleet (Raptors).

Series History

  • The series between the Bears and Redbirds dates back to the 1967 NCAA Division II semifinals – a 93-76 win by the Bears en route to their runner-up showing. Illinois State leads the all-time series, 44-34. Against the Redbirds, MSU is 9-27 in Normal, 22-13 in Springfield (7-5 at JQH Arena) and 3-4 at neutral sites..
  • Last season, the Bears swept the regular-season series against ISU for the second straight year. In game one (2/6/21), a pair of threes from Jared Ridder and some key defensive stops down the stretch led to a 74-67 Bears victory in Normal. Isiaih Mosley was 7-for-11 from the field for a team-high 19 points, while Gaige Prim racked up 14 points and 11 boards, and Demarcus Sharp posted 15 points and 4 assists. | Box Score
  • The next night (2/7/21), the Bears got 24 points from Mosley and battled through a second-half dry spell to score a 72-62 road victory. Prim added 16 points, and Ja’Monta Black added 10 in the road victory. | Box Score

Rebound Foundation

  • Bears’ head coach Dana Ford and his wife, Christina, are founders of the Rebound Foundation. The not-for-profit raises funds and awareness to help renew and restore women who have experienced a life of domestic abuse. The foundation provides a stable home and fresh start to abuse victims and their children. The Rebound Foundation currently provides homes in Springfield, Mo., and Chicago, Ill.
  • This year’s Rebound Foundation game will be Sunday, Feb. 6 vs. Loyola.
  • Pledge to assist the Rebound Challenge today!  Pledge Link
This article is provided by Missouri State