Loyola Hosts Missouri State In First Home Valley Contest

Jan. 4, 2014

Missouri State (11-2, 1-0 MVC) at Loyola (5-8, 0-1 MVC)
Date & Time Sunday, Jan. 5, 2014 | 3 p.m.
Location Chicago, Ill. | Gentile Arena
Coverage ESPN3 | Watch Live  | Live Audio | Game Tracker 
Additional Information Twitter | Facebook | Loyola Game Notes | Missouri State Game Notes 

Storylines
- Loyola looks to get back on the winning track as the Ramblers host Missouri State in its first-ever, Missouri Valley home game at Gentile Arena
- Missouri State rallied from a 16-point deficit to knock off Illinois State, 78-70 (OT), in its conference opener on Thursday night
- The Ramblers are coming off a 70-58 loss at Indiana State in their MVC opener and are looking to snap a season-long, three-game losing streak
- Christian Thomas scored a season-high 19 points (8-12 FGs) while Cody Johnson added a career-best 15 points (13 in the second half) to lead the Ramblers
- Thomas' 19 points marked the 29th consecutive game in which the St. Louis native has scored in double figures
- Today is the just the second meeting between the two teams with Loyola claiming an 87-83 victory back on Dec. 1, 1964 in the only previous encounter
- A charter member of the Horizon League (34 seasons), Loyola is in its first season in the Missouri Valley Conference. The Ramblers moved to The Valley on July 1, 2013
- Loyola head coach Porter Moser knows all about the rigors of the Missouri Valley, having played at Creighton from 1986-90 before coaching at Illinois State for four seasons (2003-07)

Loyola/Missouri State - The Series
Today is only the second meeting between the two teams with Loyola coming away with an 87-83 victory in the first meeting back on Dec. 1, 1964

Scouting Missouri State
Picked fourth in the Missouri Valley preseason poll, Missouri State has enjoyed a terrific start to the season as the Bears bring an 11-2 (1-0 MVC) record to the floor today. They are paced by 2013 MVC Freshman of the Year Marcus Marshall, who leads the team in scoring at 14.0 ppg, and senior Jamar Gulley, who fills the stat sheet to the tune of 13.5 ppg, 5.3 rpg and 1.85 spg. A deep team, the Bears have 12 players who average double-digit minutes led by Marshall's 27.4 mpg

Success Against Show-Me State
While Loyola and Missouri State have met just once, the Ramblers have enjoyed some success against teams from the State of Missouri. Loyola is 35-27 (.565) all-time against schools from Missouri (30-25, .545 against Division I teams) and while the Ramblers have played Rockhurst each of the last three seasons, they have not faced a Division I team from the state since a 52-47 win over UMKC here on Dec. 13, 2008

Thomas Turning Heads
One of the region's most improved players last season, junior Christian Thomas has picked up right where he left off. The St. Louis native has scored in double figures in all 13 Loyola games this season and has reached double digits in 29 straight contests, the longest such streak by a Rambler since Keir Rogers put together a 42-game run from Feb. 1, 1990 through the end of the 1991-92 season. Thomas was effective in Loyola's MVC opener at Indiana State, posting a game-high 19 points on 8-of-12 shooting and adding five rebounds. He enters tonight's game tied for eighth in the MVC in scoring (14.4 ppg) and fourth in rebounding (6.5 rpg), making him one of only two players (Cleanthony Early, Wichita State) to rank in the top 10 in both categories

Cody's Coming Around
One of the bright spots of the last two games has been the play of sophomore Cody Johnson. A transfer from Western Nebraska CC, Johnson posted 11 points and five rebounds in a season-high 20 minutes off the bench at Fordham and continued his high-level play in the Valley opener at Indiana State, erupting for a season-high 15 points (6-8 FGs, 2-3 3FGs) and three blocks in only 12 minutes. Johnson brings good size (6'10) and a nice shooting touch and could become an important member of the Loyola rotation as the Ramblers navigate through the MVC

Happy At Home
While Loyola has struggled away from home this season, the Ramblers have played extremely well at home, posting a 4-1 (.800) record in Gentile Arena. Loyola has shot over 50% in each of their four home wins and are tickling the twine at a 52% clip overall in its home gym

They Are Ironmen
With Loyola still looking for more depth, several Ramblers have been forced into extended action so far this season. In fact, Loyola currently has three of the Valley's top eight in minutes played (Christian Thomas - 2nd, 33.4; Milton Doyle - 7th, 31.9; Jeff White - 8th, 31.8)