Two days after it was announced that Missouri State junior guard Marcus Marshall had been suspended for conduct detrimental to the team, head coach Paul Lusk announced Friday afternoon that Marshall has left the team and will transfer in May.
“Marcus is a good kid who is trying to find his way, and we wish him the best,” Lusk said in the release. “This is a mutual decision that will be the best thing moving forward for our program and for him.”
Marshall was averaging 19.5 points and 3.2 rebounds per game for the Bears, who are 8-9 overall and 2-3 in Missouri Valley play following their 56-54 loss to Evansville on Wednesday. Marshall, who was the lone double-digit scorer (average) for Missouri State, put together good numbers in his return from a torn ACL suffered in a home loss to Wichita State during the 2013-14 season.
Marshall shot 45.9% from the field and 45.6% from three for the Bears, who as a team are shooting just 41.1% from the field this season.
Missouri State’s next two games are against Northern Iowa and No. 15 Wichita State, with Saturday’s game at UNI beginning a stretch in which three of their next four are on the road. The lone home game: Wichita State. Northern Iowa (37.9%) and Wichita State (41.1%) lead the Valley in field goal percentage defense, which was likely to be a problem for Missouri State even if Marshall were available.
After playing in just 12 games last season due to a torn ACL suffered in an overtime loss to Wichita State, Missouri State guard Marcus Marshall has been one of the best players in the Missouri Valley Conference to this point in the season. Marshall’s averaging 19.5 points and 3.2 rebounds per game, shooting 45.9% from the field, 45.6% from three and nearly 90 percent from the charity stripe in 14 games played (13 starts).
Unfortunately for Marshall he won’t be on the court when the Bears take on Evansville Wednesday night, as it was reported by Lyndal Scranton of the Springfield (Missouri) News-Leader before the game that the 6-foot-3 junior has been suspended indefinitely for “conduct detrimental to the team.”
Multiple sources said that Marshall and head coach Paul Lusk had a disagreement during the team’s afternoon game-day practice.
Also of note in Scranton’s story is that “Lusk has been publicly critical of his upperclassmen, including Marshall, for a lack of leadership over the last week.” After winning their first two conference games Missouri State (8-8, 2-2) enters Wednesday having lost their last two contests.
No other Bear is averaging double figures for Missouri State, which averages just 64.9 points per game and is shooting 41.4% from the field. Missouri State is ranked seventh in the Valley in scoring offense and ninth in field goal percentage, with Austin Ruder (8.8 ppg) being the team’s leading scorer with Marshall out of lineup.
With that being the case Missouri State’s play on the defensive end of the floor is of even greater importance against the Purple Aces, who are averaging nearly 75 points per game and shooting 51.6% from the field. The Valley’s leading scorer, guard D.J. Balentine, is scoring a conference-best 21.4 ppg for Evansville.
Missouri State has dealt with some injury issues this season as senior wing Ron Mvouika continues to miss time due to a bulging disc in his lower back.
A native of France, the 6-foot-6 Mvouika won the starting three job this preseason but has only played in two games and 20 total minutes of playing time this season and hasn’t played since Nov. 22.
According to a report from Lyndal Scranton of the News-Leader, Mvouika is hoping to return in time for Missouri Valley Conference play at the end of December.
“I’ll know more in about a week,” Mvouika said in the report. “We’re not going to rush anything, but I’ll be confident that I’ll be able to be present for the first conference game (Dec. 31). Maybe even before.”
The injury occurred for Mvouika when he was going up for a rebound in an exhibition game against Missouri Southern. The injury really hasn’t improved, which has forced the senior to miss likely a month of action.
When Mvouika returns to the lineup, he’ll give Missouri State an experienced wing who can also give some floor spacing as an additional three-point threat. Only Marcus Marshall and Austin Ruder have made more than five three-pointers this season for the Bears and Mvouika should be able to help a little bit in that category while aiding the team’s two leading scorers.