The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Sports

January 16, 2014

MSSU's win gives Corn No. 400

Missouri Southern sputtered on offense for much of the first half.

But man, did the Lions play defense.

The Lions rallied from a 12-point first-half deficit to take a two-point halftime lead, and the defense took over in the second half to produce a 70-50 victory over Lindenwood on Wednesday night at the Leggett & Platt Athletic Center.

The Lions’ third straight victory doubled as career victory No. 400 for head coach Robert Corn, who is in his 25th and final season. As the final 60 seconds ticked off the clock, the MSSU pep band began chanting, “400 wins.”

“Throughout the week I have found out this would be No. 400,” senior guard Marquis Addison said. “It’s such an honor to be a part of Coach Corn’s 400th win. He’s a local legend here … we’re so proud to be a part of it.”

“It’s a number,” said Corn, who is 400-301 for his career. “I’m not big on numbers as far as career. No. 12 (this season) is more important to me because this basketball team needs to keep building.”

Addison tallied 21 points to lead the Lions (12-2, 6-1), who joined Northwest Missouri State atop the conference standings. He hit 8-of-14 field goals, 3-of-5 from long range and 2-of-3 free throws.

Cameron Cornelius scored 17 points and handed out four assists, and Talbert had 10 points, nine rebounds, two assists and four blocked shots.

Lindenwood (8-10, 3-5) scored 25 points in the first 15 minutes and 25 in the final 25 minutes. The 50 points were 30 below Lindenwood’s season average and seven below its former low scored in a season-opening 74-57 loss to Alaska Anchorage.

It was 30-30 almost a minute into the second half when the Lions took off. And Talbert ignited the pullaway.

On three possessions, Talbert skied to grab offensive rebounds, and he converted them into two free throws and two free throws for a 36-30 lead 16:27 left. Talbert blocked Lindenwood’s next shot for good measure.

“I knew that we needed some energy,” Talbert said. “I knew that was a great way for me to get going to where I feel comfortable offensively. Offensive boards are always helpful for me, so as long as I got got aggressive on the boards, I feel like we could be effective.”

“The big key was Jordan going to the offensive glass,” Corn said. “Any time you’re struggling to score, you have to find a way to get some easy baskets. Offensive rebounds is one of the best ways to do it.”

The Lions added 12 more points to the spurt as Cornelius drove the lane, Slim Magee scored on the inside and Addison twice and Lane Barlow and Matt Everson once apiece drove for layups and a 48-30 lead with 9:06 to play.

“We didn’t want to settle (for perimeter shots),” Corn said. “We wanted to get the ball to the basket and get jump shots off penetration after getting the ball inside. Our guys did pretty well what we wanted to the second half.”

Michael Boos’ two free throws with 8:54 left pushed Lindenwood off 30 points. Lindenwood’s drought numbers: 10 minutes, 19 seconds without a point, 12:41 without a field goal. Lindenwood missed 14 shots and had seven turnovers during its dryspell.

“We pride ourselves on our defense,” Talbert said. “We know once we get stops, that’s where we flourish in transition. Our white squad in practice did a great job in simulating their offense. They really helped us prepare for this game.”

“That’s lock-down defense when we need it the most,” Addison said. “Our offense really wasn’t clicking in the first half, but Coach told us not to get down on ourselves  because we were going to hit shots.

“Our best offense is our defense. Us getting stops like that allowed us to get runouts … guys like Cameron Cornelius and Lane pushing the ball up to the guards, who did a great job attacking the basket in the second half.”

“Our defense saved us tonight,” Corn said. “The first half, it’s what kept us in the ball game. The second half we were able to maintain the good defense, and we were finally able to get some things going on the offensive end.”

Boos and Darris Smith scored 11 and 10 points, respectively, for Lindenwood.

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