The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Sports

February 27, 2014

Lions still have goals to achieve

Thanks to a pregame video tribute, there was no shortage of emotions for Missouri Southern men’s basketball coach Robert Corn on Saturday — his final game at the Leggett & Platt Athletic Center after a 25-year career.

But in the locker room after the Lions’ 110-90 victory over Pittsburg State, things were back to normal.

“This was our last home game, not our last game,” Corn said. “Most times it’s after that last game when you’re not going to play any more that’s a little tougher than the rest of them. That game wasn’t too bad.”

“He understands the season is not over,” senior forward Jordan Talbert said. “We still have things we want to accomplish.”

The Lions start the final week of regular-season play with a road game tonight at Lindenwood.

Missouri Southern (19-5, 13-4 MIAA) is third in the conference standings, one-half game in front of Fort Hays State, which won at home 80-79 Wednesday night over Central Oklahoma. The Tigers own the tiebreaker over the Lions.

The Lions slipped one spot from third place to fourth in the new Central Region rankings that were released Wednesday. The top eight teams in the region advance to the NCAA Tournament, and MIAA schools have four of the top six spots.

The Lions turned in their best defensive performance of the season with a 70-50 home victory over Lindenwood. Leading just 28-26 at halftime, the Lions held Lindenwood (11-17, 6-12) scoreless for more than a 10-minute stretch during the second half.

“We’ve gone in spurts this season,” Corn said. “Our defense has carried us for a period of the season, then the offense carried us for parts of the season. There have been a few games when we were good both offensively and defensively.”

Marquis Addison led the Lions with 21 points that night, followed by Cameron Cornelius with 17 and Talbert with 10.

Lindenwood shot 35 percent from the floor that night, but Corn knows that percentage likely will be higher tonight.

“They will shot the ball at lot better at home,” he said. “Hopefully we will score more than 70, too.”

Last season at home Lindenwood shot 58 percent from the floor and drilled 11 3-point goals in a 95-69 victory over MSSU. Tyler Ressel, who played his freshman year at MSSU and is the nephew of Lions women’s basketball assistant Ronnie Ressel, hit five treys and scored 21 points.

“They have some very good 3-point shooters,” Corn said. “Last year up there they got on a roll and were shooting lights out. It will be important that we establish ourselves early on the defensive end and not give them good looks.

“They are a better team than their record indicates. They have played teams tough at home. This will be a good challenge for us.”

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