Missouri State Bears (3-4)
- Head Coach: Dana Ford (1st Season)
- Top Performer: Jarred Dixon (17.2 PPG, 3.0 RPG)
- Points For: 74.8 PPG (187th)
- Points Against: 73.5 PPG (T-226th)
- Last Game/Streak: 88-69 Loss at Air Force (4L)
After a 3-0 start to the season, Missouri State’s campaign has begun to slide in the wrong direction, as the Bears have now dropped their last four contests overall. For head coach Dana Ford, he’s expecting his team to change their fortunes with a road trip this weekend to Corvallis.
However, Oregon State will have a different plan on their minds, when welcoming in the aptly named Bears, for their “5th Annual Teddy Bear Toss Game”.
The key for the Beavers in controlling the Bears on-the-court for this contest will be containing Missouri State’s prolific back-court combo of Jarred Dixon (17.2 PPG) and Keandre Cook (16.7 PPG). Dixon, a steady riser in the Bears program for the past three seasons has seemed to effortlessly click with the program’s new direction under Ford, while Cook, a new addition to the roster, has looked comfortable in the team’s system from the get-go.
Senior guard Ryan Kreklow (7.7 PPG) is also another name to remember when discussing the Bears arsenal of guards, as the 6’ 4” sharpshooter did connect on six three-pointers in a 23-point display earlier this season against USC. Oversized swingman Kabir Mohammed (9.5 PPG) will also be asked to do more on the perimeter at times, as will Texas Tech transfer Josh Webster (6.8 PPG), who may all see time in the Bears’ guard-heavy rotation.
Where Missouri State seems to have it’s biggest roster void comes in the front-court, as Ford has very few proven options besides 6’ 8” senior Obediah Church (8.2 PPG). Szymon Wojcik (6.0 PPG), a 6’ 10” freshman from Poland, is maybe the team’s best alternative to Church, but he’s tallied just three total points in the team’s last three contests combined, as his minutes continue to dwindle along with his consistency. It’s safe to say on the interior, the Bears are more than weak at the moment.
The good news for Missouri State in that regard is that they won’t have to handle the bruising body of Oregon State center Gligorije Rakocevic inside, who on Tuesday was diagnosed with a stress fracture in his left foot that’s expected to sideline the big man for 4-6 weeks. However, the Bears will still have to find ways to contain Oregon State star Tres Tinkle and projected replacement Kylor Kelley, whose been a breakthrough talent for the squad this year.
Player To Watch
Keandre Cook (Junior): A JUCO transfer from Odessa College, Keandre Cook has been an instant impact addition for head coach Dana Ford’s squad, as a legitimate scorer and play-maker at the Division I level. While the Bears back-court could be considered a bit crowded at times, the ability for Cook to carve out his role in the team from day one shows that he may have been a bit of a missed opportunity for some bigger schools throughout the country. Along with running mate Jarred Dixon, the Beavers will need to know where Cook is at all times on Saturday afternoon.
- Date: Saturday, December 1st
- Time: 4:00 PM PT
- Location: Gill Coliseum (Corvallis, OR)
- Coverage: Pac-12 Network