By Ryan Atkinson
Globe Sports Writer
LAMAR, Mo. —
You know that old saying from Yogi Berra about deja vu? It could have applied to Saturday night at Leggett & Platt Athletic Center.
For the second time in as many days a Missouri Southern player atoned from some early shooting woes by hitting a game-winning shot in the final minute.
Saturday night it was Marquis Addison — after going 0-for-5 from the field in the first half — hitting the go-ahead shot to break a 72-all tie with 52 seconds remaining.
The Lions scored four more down the stretch and escaped with a 78-72 win over the Lincoln Blue Tigers in the final game of the Freeman Sports Medicine/Chris Tucker Memorial Classic.
Lincoln clawed back from a 14-point second half deficit and took a 72-71 lead on DeShun Watkins’ layup with 1:44 remaining.
Addison hit 1-of-2 foul shouts to tie the game at the 1:28 mark and then hit the eventual game-winner on a runner with 52 seconds remaining.
“I knew we rotated the ball and changed sides of the floor twice, and I knew I had to take the shot,” Addison said of the possession that led to the game winner. “I knew it was my time to make a play for our team. I wasn’t really making shots early, but it didn’t hurt my confidence at all. Luckily I was able to make the shot.”
Lincoln then turned the ball over twice and never got a change to tie the game or go ahead. The Blue Tigers were forced to foul and Addison and Matt Everson combined to go 4-for-4 from the line in the final 24 seconds to seal the win.
The win moves MSSU to 3-0 after Friday’s thrilling win over Avila that saw R.J. Leverette hit a game-winning 3-pointer with 27 seconds remaining.
“We know what the home court means to us here at Leggett & Platt,” MSSU coach Robert Corn said. “They want to make sure they’re not going to be denied and that’s one thing our returning players have talked to our new kids about, that we have to make sure we take care of business here at home.”
The Lions trailed 30-27 at halftime before roaring to a 14-point lead on three occasions midway through the second half — the final time coming after Greg Renfroe’s two foul shots with 10:28 remaining.
But Lincoln responded, using a pair of small runs to pull close before eventually tying the game at 65 on Cedric Ridle’s layup.
“There were two phases there,” Corn said of the second half. “We got the lead because we got stops and were able to push the ball in transition and make some shots. Then it turned. They started getting stops and were able to push the basketball up the court and we weren’t able to stop them.”
Addison led the Lions with 21 points while Renfroe came off the bench to add 17 and grab a team-high eight rebounds. Thirteen off Renfroe’s points came in the second half
“We went into the locker room and coach said we need to have some guys come off the bench with some energy,” he said. “I feel like Stephen Atkinson and I were able to come in and do that and help take over. We brought energy off the bench, played hard defense, executed off screens on offense.”
Lincoln (1-4) got a game-high 22 points from Ridle while Watkins added 17. Preston had 11.