The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

February 8, 2013

Transition game key for MSSU men

By Jim Henry
Globe Sports Editor

— Missouri Southern established season highs for points and field-goal shooting (59 percent) in Thursday night’s 100-91 victory over Southwest Baptist.

And it all started with some of the Lions’ best transition basketball all season. They hit 7-of-8 shots and had assists on five of the seven baskets while building a 21-11 lead in the first five minutes.

“We had guys running the floor and playing with a lot of effort,” said Marquis Addison, who finished with 26 points, eight rebounds and seven assists. “Obviously if you weren’t playing with effort, Coach is pulling you out of the game. That’s something we’ve been working on, running the floor and getting easy buckets, and it really helped out (Thursday night) obviously.

“That was the key to the game, our ability to get the ball out and run,” Lions coach Robert Corn said. “It’s one of the first times we’ve been able to do that in a long time. Any time you’re able to score some easy baskets in transition, it picks up the rest of your offensive game.

“We played really well offensively. Defensively we allowed way too much penetration, and Southwest Baptist did a nice job of getting inside our defense, kicking out for the wide-open 3 and knocking them down (13-of-27).”

Cameron Cornelius (18), Jordan Talbert (13) and Stephen Atkinson (12) joined Addison in double figures, and guard Matt Everson was solid with nine points, four assists and one turnover in 23 minutes off the bench.

“It was a lot of fun to get back to our winning ways, just having fun out on the court and playing good basketball,” Everson said. “I think we came out with a lot of confidence. Everyone wanted to win and get back on the right track.”

After halting a five-game skid, the Lions (10-10, 5-7 MIAA) return to action tonight against league-leading Central Missouri at the Leggett & Platt Athletic Center.

The Mules (15-5, 9-3), who are ending a four-game road trip, moved to the top of the standings with a nine-game winning streak. But they’ve lost their last two games — 83-82 to Lindenwood and 69-67 to Central Oklahoma — when the opponent made two free throws in the last five seconds.

“They are going to come in hungry because they’ve lost two in a row,” Corn said. “We’re going to get their best shot. They’ve always been very physical. They are a veteran basketball team. They have a lot of seniors on the team. We have to make sure we match their toughness and make sure we keep them off the glass. And we have to shoot the ball well.”

Senior forward Dominique Long, who prepped at Waynesville, leads the Mules at 15.3 points per game, and Widgett Washington and Charles Hammork add 11 points apiece.