Despite Anthony Tucker's troubled past - he left the basketball programs at Iowa and Winona State after suspensions at both places - the 6-foot-4 guard can still fill it up.
Tucker is averaging 22.5 points per game on 57 percent shooting for the Minnesota State-Moorhead Dragons, who visit the Minot State University Dome at 8 tonight. The former starter at Iowa is also knocking down 53 percent of his 3-point attempts and averaging 7.5 rebounds and 4.5 assists per game.
"He's a guy that had some success when he played in the Big 10," MSU coach Matt Murken said. "He's been out a couple years, but he's got himself off to a good start this year and through (six) games ... he's having an MVP-caliber season. He's certainly somebody that fills up the stat sheet and somebody that we have to prepare for."
Minot State University senior Anthony Enriquez drives to the hoop during a game at the MSU Dome in November. The Beavers host a pair of Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference games this weekend.
But the Dragons (5-1 overall, 0-1 Northern Sun) are more than a one-man show.
Alex Novak, a 6-8 senior forward, is averaging 13.3 points and 8.2 rebounds while shooting at a 68-percent clip, which ranks 10th in the nation. Moorhead, which was picked to win the NSIC North in the preseason, returns several contributors from a team that made it to the second round of the NCAA tournament last year.
"They've gotten used to winning lately and anytime teams get used to winning, they're dangerous teams," Murken said. "They expect to win on a nightly basis."
The Beavers (1-3, 0-1) are still working to instill that belief after a 4-25 campaign a season ago. MSU's most recent setback was Saturday's 77-65 loss at the University of Mary in which Murken was underwhelmed with his team's defensive performance.
"I think we didn't play too well as a team, we could've played better," said MSU junior Chris East, who is tied for the team lead at 9.8 points per game. "Our mindset going into the following games is we just need to pressure the ball more and play better as a team. Just to go harder every day from here on out, try to forget about that game and focus on our next opponents."
The Beavers also host Northern State University (S.D.) on Saturday. The Wolves (5-2, 1-0) beat Moorhead 69-66 on Saturday behind 6-7 forward Dustin Tetzlaff's 18 points and seven boards - a performance which helped earn him conference player of the week honors.
Murken said Northern State and Moorhead are very different in terms of X's and O's, but both have strong frontcourt players, a couple of wing shooters and "creative" point guards. But the MSU coach is most concerned with his team's growth.
"We just have to prepare better to execute what our game plan is defensively and offensively," Murken said. "I guess you can look at it as a negative or a positive, but we still have a lot of room for improvement on both sides of the ball. There's certain things - some little things, some big - that we can do to be more productive."