By Ryan Atkinson
Globe Sports Writer
After opening the regular season with three wins in the friendly confines of the Leggett & Platt Athletic Center, the Missouri Southern Lions are hitting the road.
The Lions begin a four-game stretch on the road tonight with a trip to Arkansas-Fort Smith for a 7 p.m. tipoff.
Southern then heads to Canyon, Texas for the West Texas A&M Classic on Friday and Saturday before a week-long break ends with a trip to Arkansas Tech.
“It’s good to be 3-0. When you look at our schedule, that’s exactly where we need to be with the next four on the road,” MSSU coach Robert Corn said. “There will be some challenges ahead of us.
“I think we’re starting to learn a little more about our basketball team.”
UAFS will be making its home debut after dropping a pair of road games in Oklahoma — an 87-78 loss at Southwestern Oklahoma State on Nov. 14 and a 74-61 loss at Southeastern Oklahoma State on Saturday.
Corey Copeland, a junior transfer from Missouri State, leads UAFS through two games with a 13-point-per-game average. Dijon Farr — a transfer from the University of Utah — Jake Toupal and Jelani Poston are also averaging in double figures.
Marquis Addison and Jordan Talbert lead MSSU in scoring, combining for 37 points per game. Addison (averaging 22 per game) scored 23 in the season opener, 22 against Avila and 21 against Lincoln.
Greg Renfroe — a redshirt freshman from Nowata (Okla.) High School — has been a welcome addition to the Lions’ roster. The 6-foot-8, 220-pound center is averaging 13 points per game off the bench, including 17 in Saturday’s win over Lincoln.
“There’s no doubt that Greg has really played well coming off the bench,” Corn said. “He gives us that inside presence that you have to have in order to be successful.”
And Corn said Renfroe and the Lions’ other big men could get even more scoring opportunities with some work from the guards.
“We have to make sure we do a better job of getting angles,” he said. “I think (Renfroe) was open a few times (on Saturday) and we weren’t able to get him the ball because of our angle. We need to get him as many touches as possible.”
After this road swing, the Lions have just one more date — a home game against Central Bible —before MIAA play begins with a trip to Truman State on Dec. 8.
That only heightens the importance of this four-game stretch.
“We’ve got to play a lot better with these next four being on the road,” Corn said. “We were able to overcome some things playing at home in a good environment. We won’t be able to allow ourselves that luxury.”