The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Sports

January 9, 2014

Hot-shooting MSSU drops Bronchos

EDMOND, Okla. — One game after its worst shooting game of the season, Missouri Southern registered one of its best shooting games.

The Lions, breaking away early in the second half, shot 61 percent and decked Central Oklahoma 92-79 Wednesday night, handing the Bronchos only their second home loss of the season. And on the 49th birthday of Hamilton Field House, the Lions won for the first time in four games in the building — two in the 1993 regional and one last year in the regular-season finale.

Marquis Addison netted 18 points to lead five Lions in double figures. Slim Magee added 15 points, Austin Wright 13, Greg Renfroe 12 and Cameron Cornelius 10.

Magee and Wright, along with Matt Everson and Blaine Miller, were part of a productive bench that saw the Lions outscore the UCO reserves 37-14 and help the Lions overcome foul trouble.

“Matt Everson, best game he’s had this year,” Addison said. “Austin Wright hit big shots for us. Blaine, Slim, guys all around came in and played big minutes and got big rebounds. Coach said before the game that our together is better than the parts that we have. Tonight we took that to heart and got a really big road win.”

“With our foul trouble, it was crucial that the bench play well, and everybody did that,” Lions coach Robert Corn said. “We got great production from the center spot – Greg was 5-for-6, Slim was 7-for-8. We went 12-for-14 down low, and that was very important.”

The Lions (10-3, 4-1 MIAA) shot 38.8 percent in a 76-67 home loss to Fort Hays State last Saturday. But against the Bronchos, the Lions made 31-of-51 attempts, including 17-of-24 in the second half. The Lions also made 20-of-26 free throws in the second half and 24-of-33 for the game.

“Today we came out with a lot more energy,” Wright said. “We were getting stops on defense, and our defense really translates to our offense. Against Fort Hays we didn’t make shots, and it carried over to our defense.”

A quick burst — two layups by Everson after cuts to the basket, a 3-pointer by Wright and a layin  by Magee off a no-look pass from Jordan Talbert — gave the Lions a 17-10 lead after eight minutes. Renfroe, after blocking a shot, hustled to the other end and scored on a layin for a 23-13 lead with 8:10 left in the half.

The Bronchos battled back and took the lead before Everson’s 18-footer at the buzzer gave the Lions a 34-33 halftime lead.  

The Lions started Everson and Wright in the second half for Addison and Lane Barlow, who had three fouls apiece. But the Lions didn’t miss a beat — and almost didn’t miss a shot. They made 11 of their first 13 attempts to open a 59-46 lead.

Cameron Cornelius drove for two buckets, Wright nailed two treys and Everson hit a 3 from the wing. Renfroe scored on the inside, Magee came in for three straight field goals and Addison capped the run with a dunk and 15-footer.

The Lions maintained at least an eight-point lead the rest of the way. Their biggest margin was 16  points, the last time at 87-71 after a Magee dunk with 2:41 left.

Josh Gibbs, 6-foot-5, 235-pound senior, had 23 points and 10 rebounds — his 13th double-double this season — for the Bronchos (9-4, 3-3). Cal Andrews and Aaron Anderson added 16 and 15, respectively, for UCO, which shot 46 percent (26-of-57).

“We were fortunate they didn’t get much in transition,” Corn said. “The second half we shot 70 percent, so there aren’t too many opportunities for transition. The first half we had a lot of turnovers, but it wasn’t against their press where they could go down and convert. Most of our turnovers were careless mistakes on our part, and we were able to get back defensively.”

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