ST. LOUIS, Mo–The Thursday teams in Arch Madness share two things. Hope and desperation.
“That tournament is open for anybody to win. Just one game at a time. We have to just keep preparing for the moment. And everything will take care of itself,” said Alize Johnson.
“We have to move forward it’s a new season. It’s what conference tournaments are all about. It’s probably as up for grabs as it’s ever been,” said Paul Lusk.
Missouri State isn’t thinking four wins in four days. The Bears just want to win a game. The team has lost nine of its last 11. And turning things around starts on defense.
“If you play defense, your offense will take care of itself really. We’re one of the most talented teams in the conference, our record may not show it,” said Jarred Dixon.
One of those best players is Alize Johnson. He’s averaging 15 points per game and collected 19 double, doubles this year. Coach Lusk says a turnaround will start with him, but the bears can’t be a one man team.
“Now we need him to be at a very high level. And we need everyone else doing what they can do and playing the best basketball that they have played,” said coach Lusk.
The Bears will play Valparaiso, a team they beat twice during the regular season. But the Crusaders come into Arch Madness with three wins in their last five games.
“The first time we played them they were doing some different things offensively. When we played them at their place and held them to 50. They had changed that and have gotten better and better throughout the season,” said coach Lusk.
“They’ve gotten better since we played them last time. They were struggling a bit. They have some good players who made some MVC teams. They’ll be ready to fight just like us. I guess win or go home. They’ll be ready,” said Dixon.