The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

November 24, 2012

No. 20 West Texas A&M beats Lions at buzzer

From staff reports

CANYON, Texas — No. 20 West Texas A&M did it again.

Mason White, who missed two free throws moments earlier, scored just before the buzzer sounded to lift the Buffaloes past Missouri Southern 57-55 Friday night in the Pak-A-Sak Thanksgiving Classic at the First United Bank Center.

The Buffaloes (5-0) won at the buzzer for the third consecutive game while the Lions (3-2) suffered a second straight road loss and return to action at 4 p.m. today against Eastern New Mexico (2-2), which beat Colorado State-Pueblo 83-69 Friday afternoon.

Forward Jordan Talbert paced the Lions with 13 points, and guard Cameron Cornelius tallied 11 points on a perfect shooting night — 4-of-4 from the floor and 3-of-3 at the foul line in 12 minutes off the bench.

Guard Marquis Addison had nine points for the Lions, who shot 52 percent (23-of-44) from the field but were outrebounded 31-16. Addison and Matt Everson dished out four assists apiece, and Morgan Smith (who made his first collegiate start), Talbert and Addison all had three steals.

“Morgan gave us energy, and Cornelius really did a nice job off the bench,” Lions coach Robert corn said. “Both of them took advantage of their minutes.”

Donald Sims, 6-foot-5 senior forward, made 9-of-11 shots and finished with 19 points and 12 rebounds for West Texas A&M, which hit 51 percent (23-of-45).

The Lions jumped out to a 10-2 lead in the first four minutes and led 27-22 at halftime and 40-27 after Matt Everson’s layup with 13:55 remaining.

The Lions never trailed until the last minute when Darnell Jackson’s two free throws gave the Buffs a 55-53 lead with 44 seconds to play. The Lions lost the ball on a turnover, but a steal by Talbert led to a basket by Cornelius and a 55-55 tie with 28 seconds left.

White was fouled on a drive to the basket, but he missed both free throws, and the Lions called a timeout with 2.3 seconds left. But Stephen Atkinson’s length-of-the-court baseball pass went out of bounds without being touched, giving the Buffs possession under their basket. They got the ball to White in the lane, and he scored the game-winner.

“We almost knocked it loose but their guy took the shot and the ball went through as the horn sounded,” Corn said. “They led at the right time.

“We played well. I don’t have any problem at all with our effort. Some of the things that have been hurting us continued to hurt us. We didn’t do a very good job rebounding, and we still had 19 turnovers. Those two areas really came back and haunted us. They had a couple of key putback baskets and we had some key turnovers down the stretch.

“It’s a tough loss, but we have to move on. West Texas ranked 20th in the country, and we played them right down to the wire on their floor. So in a lot of ways, this was our best game of the year. We will try to build on that because we play another good team tomorrow.”