The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Sports

February 19, 2014

Lion men look for improved defense against SBU

Twenty days ago, Missouri Southern outscored Southwest Baptist 96-94 in Bolivar.

Naturally the Lions are hoping for a better defensive effort in tonight’s rematch at the Leggett & Platt Athletic Center.

“We have to get out and guard the 3,” Lions coach Robert Corn said. “We can’t afford to let them come in here and get comfortable and get confidence. Their big guy on the inside presents all kinds of problems for us because he’s a nice player.

“It’s like every game. You have to come out and you have to be ready to play. If you’re not ready to play, some bad things are going to happen. We have to stop their penetration and can’t allow them to get to the basket. And we can’t sink in so when they do penetrate, they can kick it out and get wide-open looks. Hopefully our defense will be better than it was last time we played them because I don’t want to give up 90-plus points again.”

Desi Barmore, 6-foot-7 junior forward, averages 16.2 points and 6.6 rebounds for the Bearcats, and he has 36 blocked shots and 22 steals. He scored 22 points — hitting 8-of-16 field goals and 6-of-11 free throws — against the Lions last month before fouling out in the closing seconds.

“With his quickness, he presents some problems for us,” Corn said.

Guards Preston Guiot and Menas Stephens scored 17 points apiece for SBU. They average 9.2 and 7.5 points, respectively.

Jordan Talbert’s 16 points led a balanced Lions’ attack, followed by Lane Barlow with 15, Greg Renfroe and Marquis Addison with 13 apiece and Austin Wright with 12.

Both teams are coming off road victories last Saturday — the Lions 78-60 over Missouri Western and the Bearcats 98-69 over Lincoln.

Tonight’s game and the Lions’ afternoon game on Saturday against Pittsburg State are their final two regular-season home games. They also are the final regular-season home games for Corn, who is retiring after 25 years.

“I haven’t given it a whole lot of thought simply because we have so much to play for,” Corn said. “I’d be lying if I said the thought hasn’t crossed my mind, but by the same token, I’m not going to dwell on that.

“We’re still fighting for a regional berth. This team has a lot to play for, and I want to make sure that we (coaching staff) are doing everything we can do to put ourselves in a position to win the game and not get caught up in other things.”

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