By Jim Henry
Globe Sports Editor
Missouri Southern was outrebounded 52-36 in Tuesday night’s 76-57 loss at Arkansas-Fort Smith.
Looking to bounce back from their first loss of the season, the Lions (3-1) face another big test on the boards in tonight’s game at No. 20-ranked West Texas A&M (4-0).
Tipoff is at 8 in the Pak-A-Sak Thanksgiving Classic at the First United Bank Center in Canyon, Texas. The Lions have another game at 4 p.m. Saturday against Eastern New Mexico (1-2 before today’s game against Colorado State-Pueblo).
West Texas A&M won two close games last weekend in a classic in Pueblo, Colo., beating CSU-Pueblo 76-73 and Oklahoma Christian 55-52 on late 3-point goals.
The Buffaloes average 61.0 points per game, 6.5 more than their opponents, and they have outrebounded their first four foes by 9.5 per game. The Lions held a 3.0 rebound advantage in their three victories before being dominated by UAFS.
“Arkansas-Fort Smith’s physicality presented problems for us,” Lions coach Robert Corn said. “This is the type of game we’re going to see the rest of the way. Our guys have to learn to adjust to it and do a better job.
“No doubt we’ll have our hands full. It has to start in house before going anywhere else. We have to play a lot better than we did Tuesday night.”
Guard Marquis Addison and forward Jordan Talbert average 19.8 and 15.5 points, respectively, to lead the Lions. Talbert is the top rebounder at 9.0.
Greg Renfroe, redshirt freshman center, also is in double figures at 11.0 per game.
Donald Sims, 6-foot-5, 220-pound senior forward, averages 12.5 points to lead West Texas A&M and is shooting 68 percent from the field. Tez Dumars, 6-2 sophomore guard, and Mason White, 6-3 senior forward, add 10.5 points, and 6-3 senior guard Darnell Jackson leads the board work at 7.3 per game.
Through four games, the Buffaloes have been outscored by seven points in the first half but own a 33-point advantage in the final 20 minutes.
Eastern New Mexico’s Greyhounds have averaged 74.0 points and allowed 72.3 in three games, and they have a 1.3 rebounding edge.
The Greyhounds, coming off a 68-67 last-second loss to Texas A&M International, are led by 5-11 junior guard Rodney Blackmon (20.0 points), 6-4 junior guard Rafael Love (14.7 points, 10.0 rebounds) and 6-5 junior forward Dennis Hardwell (14.3, 8.7).