The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Sports

December 6, 2013

Slim Magee's career night sparks Lions

Thanks to Slim, Missouri Southern’s victory margin was not slim.

Slim Magee, 6-foot-11, 205-pound senior, established career highs with 27 points, 10 rebounds and seven blocked shots to lead the Lions past Nebraska-Kearney 99-79 Thursday night in an MIAA men’s basketball opener at the Leggett & Platt Athletic Center.

Magee, from New Orleans and a transfer from the University of South Alabama, made 11-of-14 field goals and 5-of-6 free throws in 24 minutes. Half of his rebounds were off the offensive glass, leading the Lions to a 25-12 advantage in second-chance points, and his seven blocks were one shy of the school record.

“Before the game Coach just told me to play hard because the last game I wasn’t able to be as dominant as I wanted to be,” Magee said. “Coach told me to play hard and be dominant and take my time.”

Magee provided a spark in the game’s two decisive runs. He converted a three-point play and another shot in the lane during a 14-2 burst that produced a 22-6 lead midway through the first half. Then with about six minutes left, Magee scored seven straight points and blocked a shot to help thwart a comeback that saw the Lopers climb within eight points.

“Before each practice, Coach (Nick) Bradford and I take about 15-20 minutes to work on my post moves,” Magee said. “Everybody knows I’m a lefty, so everybody sits on my left shoulder. Coach Bradford is showing me to be more dominant with my right hand, too.”

“He really played well,” Lions coach Robert Corn said. “The thing about it is he really has good hands. He caught two or three passes that were hard passes to catch, and he was able to catch it and finish it.

“He’s getting a lot of confidence, and our guys obviously have a lot of confidence in him. He gives you that addition on the inside who can finish plays, and on the defensive end, he gives you a presence around the basket. He played both ends of the floor tonight.”

Three more players reached double figures for the Lions (6-1).

Guard Marquis Addison converted 9-of-10 free throws while scoring 21 points. Guard Cameron Cornelius hit 7-of-9 field goals and scored 16, and forward Jordan Talbert contributed 12 points and six rebounds.

Sophomore center Greg Renfroe — the guy that Magee replaced — did not miss a shot and finished with nine points, five rebounds and a block in 16 minutes.

“Our center spot really produced tonight,” Corn said. “Thirty-six points, 15 rebounds, 8 blocked shots, I think we’d take that every game.”

Sophomore Connor Beranek scored 26 points to lead the Lopers (3-4), and guard Davion Pearson had 21 points and nine assists.

The Lions’ early spree from an 8-4 lead also included a layup by Talbert, 3-pointer by Lane Barlow and a rebound basket by Devin Spencer off a Magee miss.

Later in the first half Talbert made a cut along the right baseline for a two-handed dunk off a lob pass from Barlow — this alley-oop did not go in the basket. The Lions’ biggest lead came when Austin Wright elevated for a near-dunk off the fast break for a 50-27 lead with 2:03 left in the first half.

“I thought it was important for us to come out and set the tone early and not allow Kearney to get comfortable and gain confidence,” Corn said. “I thought our guys did a nice job of doing that.

“The second half we got a little ragged for a while and allowed them to get within 8 with the ball. Once they got within 8, I thought our defense picked up. I think Nick and Jeff (Boschee, assistant coaches) made a nice adjustment ... we were helping off too much on their point guard and giving up wide-open jump shots. We quit helping and told Cam he had to keep him in front of him. And as a result, they started missing some shots.”

The Lions play host to Washburn at 3 p.m. Saturday.

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