The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Sports

January 25, 2014

Sophomore Renfroe ignites Lions' offense in conference romp

Greg Renfroe resembled the Energizer Bunny.

“I was feeling good,” he said. “When you’re hot like that, nothing is bothering you. You’re ready to go. You just want to keep going and going and going.”

Renfroe, 6-foot-8, 220-pound sophomore, poured in a career-high 28 points as the Lions roared past Missouri Western 105-71 Saturday afternoon at the Leggett & Platt Athletic Center.

Four more players reached double figures for the No. 22-ranked Lions (14-3, 8-2 MIAA), who shot 78 percent in the second half (18-of-23) and 68 percent (34-of-50) for the game.

Marquis Addison finished with 14 points after a good news, bad news start. He hit two 3-pointers from the same spot at the head of the key as the Lions took an 8-3 lead in the first two minutes, but seconds later he picked up two fouls just three seconds apart. Between foul trouble and the second-half blowout, he played just 19 minutes.

Guard Cameron Cornelius contributed 13 points. Center Slim Magee scored 12 points in the 18 minutes that Renfroe was not on the floor, and Lane Barlow had 10 points and six assists.

Jordan Talbert grabbed eight rebounds as the Lions dominated the boards 42-23. Talbert’s full statistical line also included eight points, six assists and five blocked shots in 26 minutes.

Point guard Ryan Devers scored 14 points to lead the Griffons (8-10, 3-7), but he was 4-of-14 from the floor and did not score until a three-point play with five seconds left in the first half. Kalvin Balque and Dzenan Mrkaljevic added 12 points apiece off the bench, and Charlie Marquardt had 11.

Renfroe’s 13 points led the Lions to a 54-33 halftime lead, and early in the second half he scored on moves on each side of the basket sandwiched around a dunk set up by Addison.

“We talked about it in practice,” Renfroe said. “They only had one big 5 man, and we said get the ball inside.

“I was just working hard, doing the work early, and they give you the ball. When you get all the work done, you try to score. The scoring is the easy part. The early work is tough.”

“When Greg is playing, he’s hard to stop as you could see,” Barlow said. “He’s still young. He’s learning everything from Coach (Nick) Bradford, so he’ll be OK.”

“We felt Greg and Slim would be a key in this game because we had an advantage from the standpoint that their big guy is a freshman and they don’t have a lot of depth in big guys,” Missouri Southern coach Robert Corn said.

“And give our guys credit. They realized that, and they kept giving both of them the basketball where they could do something with it. It was a catch, one dribble, make a move and score. Greg was really assertive. He really did a nice job of elevating over their big guy. And he was able to step to the free-throw line and make his free throws.”

The Lions led just 29-26 before breaking away in the final 7:32 of the first half. They scored on nine straight possessions during one stretch while outscoring the Griffons 25-7.

“We were probably playing during that spurt about as well as we can play,” Corn said. “We did a great job of making the extra pass.”

Cornelius and Renfroe combined for the first 13 points in the spree, and then the Lions scored three points on three straight trips.

“Cam penetrated in the lane and kicked it out to Marquis for the spot-up 3 and he buried it,” Corn said. “The very next time down, we did the same thing. Marquis missed the shot but Cam got the rebound and got the 2-plus-1. The very next time down, Jordan made the extra pass to Austin (Wright) for the wide-open 3.

“That’s when as a coach you enjoy sitting and watching your guys play because things we’ve been teaching and telling them, you see the fruition of it.”

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