The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Sports

January 14, 2014

MSSU prepares to defend Lindenwood treys

Missouri Southern is undefeated in seven games away from home — 4-0 in neutral site games plus three MIAA road victories over Emporia State, Central Oklahoma and Northeastern State by an average of 19 points.

Despite those impressive numbers, Lions coach Robert Corn had no thoughts about trying to change the location of tonight’s home game against Lindenwood.

“That’s one thing we talked about in the locker room (after Saturday’s victory at Northeastern State) is our two losses have been at home,” Corn said. “So we can’t just assume because we’re at home, everything is going to be great. We still have to play. If you don’t respect someone in the MIAA, you get humbled pretty quick.”

The Lions certainly were humbled one year ago when they dropped a 95-65 loss at Lindenwood. That night Lindenwood jumped out to a 28-8 lead, and MSSU never got closer than 14 points as Lindenwood shot 58 percent from the field and popped in 11 3-point goals.

Tyler Ressel, who played as a reserve his freshman year at Missouri Southern and is the nephew of women’s basketball associate head coach Ronnie Ressel, hit five treys and scored a game-high 21 points.

This season Lindenwood is shooting 40 percent from beyond the arc — 129-of-324. By comparison, Missouri Southern has taken only 193 treys and made 70.

“They like to shoot the 3, and they have some very good outside shooters,” Corn said. “Any time a team can shoot the 3 like they can, it spreads the defense out. It’s important that we put ourselves in position to contest the 3, and we can’t allow a lot of penetration.”

The Lions’ defense was strong in Saturday’s 80-65 victory at Northeastern State, allowing 37 percent shooting and dominating the boards 43-25.

“We were really active,” Corn said. “We played up on our toes, not back on our heels. Any time you are moving like that, you’re harder to screen, and when you play a team like Northeastern, you have to be prepared to be hit with screens. When we were hit, we kept playing and didn’t give them many good looks at the basket.”

The Lions’ two losses against Arkansas-Fort Smith and Fort Hays State both came after long breaks. After another 10-day break, the Lions rallied in the last 44 seconds to beat Arkansas Tech 74-73.

“You take away the breaks, the other games at home we’ve played pretty well,” Corn said. “Against Nebraska-Kearney we played well, against Washburn we played well.

“The fact that we’ve been able to carry it over onto the road, a lot of it is being a veteran team. A lot of these guys have been through the MIAA before and understand how tough it is.”

The Lions have averaged 87.2 points per game, and their 16.9 scoring margin ranks ninth among NCAA Division II schools. Missouri Southern also leads the league in field-goal shooting (50.6 percent), field-goal defense (39.9 percent) and blocked shots (5.46).

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