The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Sports

January 31, 2014

Offense carries Lions to win over SBU

BOLIVAR, Mo. — In a game pleasing to the fans but not to defensive-minded basketball coaches, Missouri Southern held off Southwest Baptist 96-94 Thursday night in an MIAA shootout at the Meyer Sports Complex.

The Lions (15-3, 9-2 MIAA) never trailed after Cameron Cornelius sank two free throws for a 79-77 lead with 7:31 remaining, and Austin Wright’s fourth 3-pointer made it 84-78 with five minutes to play. Down the stretch, the Lions rode the inside work of Slim Magee, and then they made enough free throws (4-of-8) in the final 51 seconds to preserve the lead.

Magee, 6-foot-11, 205-pound center, scored on four of five possessions for a 92-85 lead with 1:40 left. The first bucket came after his offensive rebound, and the last three were set up by lob passes from Wright, Marquis Addison and Wright again

“Slim made a lot of big plays,” Lions coach Robert Corn said. “We had over the top a lot, and we were looking to get it inside. Late in the ball game Austin got it to him a couple of times, and Slim certainly delivered for us.”

In the last minute, Magee, Lane Barlow twice and Addison all made 1-of-2 attempts on trips to the foul line, and Addison’s charity gave MSSU a 96-92 lead with eight seconds left. Addison then blocked David Gabrovesek’s 3-pointer from the top of the key, and the Bearcats picked up the ball for an uncontested layin at the buzzer.

“We needed every point tonight, because we certainly weren’t able to stop them on the defensive end,” Corn said. “I felt there were two or three times when we would get up seven or eight, I thought if we get a big stop and push it to double digits, maybe we could go on a run. But they never would let us. Every time they needed a big basket, they got it, and they got stops also. Every time we would bend, we wouldn’t break. They tied the ball game a couple of times in the second half and we were able to open it right back up.”

Jordan Talbert scored 16 points, grabbed seven rebounds, made six assists and recorded two steals before fouling out on a tipin with 2:35 left. The foul was first given to Addison, who was nowhere near the play, but later changed to Talbert after a video review.

The Lions, who shot 59 percent from the floor and only 54 percent at the line, had five more players reach double figures.

Barlow, who played for SBU three years ago, scored 15 points and handed out eight assists. Barlow, who also had two steals, was 5-of-8 from the floor and 3-of-9 at the line.

“I thought Lane played a heck of a ball game,” Corn said. “He struggled at the free-throw line, but he got us going out of the gate by hitting a couple of 3s early. And I thought he did a nice job running our team.”

Magee also finished with 15 points on 7-of-9 accuracy from the field and 1-of-2 at the line, and he snared a team-high nine rebounds. Greg Renfroe, who had seven rebounds, and Addison tallied  13 points apiece as Renfroe made 6-of-10 fielders and Addison 6-of-11. Wright hit 4-of-8 shots from beyond the arc for 12 points.

Desi Barmore captured game honors with 22 points for Southwest Baptist (10-10, 3-8). Barmore, who was 8-of-16 from the floor and 6-of-11 at the line, scored nine straight points for SBU during a three-minute stretch midway through the second half but went to the bench moments later with four fouls. He sat for almost three minutes before returning, and fouled out in the closing seconds.

Preston Guiot and Mena Stephens scored 17 points apiece for SBU. Stephens also had 10 rebounds, and Guiot had seven assists.

The Bearcats shot 54 percent from the floor and 63 percent at the line. The 3-point shooting was almost identical – 8 of 18 for SBU, 7-of-17 for MSSU.

The Lions have another road game Saturday afternoon at Central Missouri. Tipoff is approximately 3:30.

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