By Ryan Atkinson
Globe Sports Writer
The good news for Missouri Southern? The Lions are on a three-game winning streak heading into the teeth of an always-grinding MIAA schedule.
The bad news? They haven’t played in three weeks. More than a touch of basketball rust can accumulate in three weeks.
The solution? Today’s 2 p.m. exhibition against Livin’ The Dream at Leggett & Platt Athletic Center.
“The biggest thing is, we’ve had such a long layoff,” MSSU coach Robert Corn said. “We wanted to get some sort of game in before we played Northwest Missouri.”
Northwest Missouri is the team coming to town on Thursday. It will be the second MIAA game for the 6-3 Lions after beating Truman State on Dec. 8.
That was the third of three consecutive wins, which offset a three-game skid from Nov. 20-24.
“We want to get back and make sure we’re executing like we were before the break,” Corn said. “And we need to get our conditioning back where we need it to be.”
Livin’ The Dream — founded by former Missouri Southern star Brad Mann — is a regular on MSSU’s exhibition schedule.
The team’s roster (30 players strong due to scheduling conflicts) includes former Kansas Jayhawk Jeff Hawkins and players from other NCAA Division I programs such as Missouri State, Boise State and Colorado.
It will be the 12th of a 14-game 2012 schedule for Livin’ The Dream, which included one other MIAA team. Missouri Western handed Livin’ The Dream a 112-73 loss on Nov. 13.
“They’ll have veteran players,” Corn said. “They all have full-time jobs and they’re out here playing because they love the game. They know how to play the game and they won’t beat themselves.
“And I’m sure, with Brad being a former Lions, he’ll have a two or three former Lions show up to play. It’s always an exciting game to be a part of.”
MSSU practiced through finals week earlier this month and then stuck around campus for a few days for workouts. Corn said the players went home for about a week for Christmas before returning to campus.
“We’re happy to be back. Happy to be working,” he said. “Our execution was really starting to come around and I think our half-court defense is starting to take shape.
“We want to make sure that continues.”