By Jim Henry
Globe Sports Editor
COLUMBIA, Mo. —
Execution — not the scoreboard — was Missouri Southern’s primary concern, and for the first 20 minutes the Lions had only six turnovers against Missouri, ranked No. 15 nationally and No. 3 in the SEC preseason polls.
Led by Marquis Addison’s 3-point sniping, the Lions trailed just 42-33 at halftime.
But the Tigers turned up the defense, turned MSSU turnovers into easy baskets to start the second half and pulled away for an 86-60 victory Sunday afternoon before 7,324 fans at Mizzou Arena.
Addison, 6-foot-4 junior guard, tallied 19 points to pace the Lions, making 6-of-11 from the floor, 4-of-6 from 3-point range and 3-of-4 at the foul line.
Junior guard Matt Everson added 10 points and three steals for the Lions, and junior forward Jordan Talbert snagged seven rebounds while being limited to 20 minutes by foul trouble.
Addison hit 4-of-5 treys and 5-of-7 shots overall while scoring 14 first-half points. His first two 3s gave the Lions leads of 3-2 and 6-4 in the first three minutes.
The Tigers, sparked by Stefan Jankovic’s 12 points off the bench, opened a 36-22 lead with 4:30 left in the half, but a 9-3 spurt by the Lions that included 3s by R.J. Leverette and Addison again sliced the deficit to 38-31 before Missouri led 42-33 at the intermission.
“We didn’t have turnovers,” Lions coach Robert Corn said. “That is always a concern in games like this because if you make a turnover out on the perimeter, it turns into a dunk at the other end.
“Marquis got us out of the gate by hitting some 3s, and that’s what you have to have. You need to build some confidence early or you can be down 20-0 pretty quick.”
Phil Pressey, who missed six of his seven first-half shots, and Negus Webster-Chan had two baskets apiece as the Tigers broke away to a 50-33 lead in the first 2:20 of the second half. The Lions had three turnovers in that span and the Tigers turned two into easy baskets.
“They picked up the defense,” Addison said. “With their high pressure, they force you to start your offense halfway out to halfcourt. We were starting two, three, four feet beyond the 3-point line and that screws up your timing.”
“You need to play harder, more intensity on the defensive end,” Missouri coach Frank Haith said, revealing his halftime speech. “We came out a little sluggish at the start, didn’t have much movement, and Missouri Southern did a good job getting its defense back and getting set.
“The tempo was more what we want in the second half, and it started on the defensive end. We had active hands, knocked some balls loose.”
Missouri’s lead ballooned to 61-37 with 12:28 left on Jankovic’s one-handed slam.
Jankovic, 6-foot-11, 230-pound freshman from Ontario, scored 20 points to lead five Tigers in double figures. He was 8-of-13 from the floor and 3-of-4 from beyond the arc despite having limited practice time on the perimeter. However, guard Keion Bell is out with an illness this weekend, and that forced Jankovic to move to the outside.
“I had to talk him through some of the possessions,” Haith said. “Now Stefan probably will tell me he needs to be on the perimeter all the time.”
Webster-Chan added 14 points for the Tigers, Tony Criswell 13, Laurence Bowers 11 and Earnest Ross 10. Bowers, returning from a knee injury that sidelined him all of last year, also had eight rebounds as the Tigers owned a 44-31 advantage on the boards.
The Lions shot 35 percent (21-of-60) while the Tigers were 34-of-62 for 54 percent, including 63 percent (19-of-30) when they outscored the Lions 44-27. The Lions finished with 14 turnovers, two fewer than the Tigers.
Missouri Southern opens regular-season play Friday night at home against John Brown.