By Jim Henry
Globe Sports Editor
Battling back from an 11-point deficit in the first half, Missouri Southern scored the first six points in overtime.
But the Lions scored only two points during the final 3:21, and Northwest Missouri State rallied to stun the Lions 69-68 Thursday night at the Leggett & Platt Athletic Center.
The Bearcats’ DeAngelo Hailey drove from the right wing for a basket that gave the Bearcats a one-point lead with 1.7 seconds to play.
After a timeout, the Lions’ Stephen Atkinson’s three-quarters court inbounds pass was caught by Marquis Addison near the foul line. While tightly guarded, Addison’s fadeaway shot was off target as he fell to the floor.
“We ran the perfect play,” Addison said. “We practice it all the time. That’s all you can ask for, a chance to get the ball at the rim. People say I got fouled, but you normally don’t get that call, and I respect that.”
The Lions’ quick start in overtime doubled their largest lead during regulation, but then a variety of mistakes aided the Bearcats’ comeback.
“We had a couple of turnovers during that (overtime) stretch,” Lions’ coach Robert Corn said. “We didn’t box out on a missed free throw, and they got two more free throw attempts that they converted, and we committed a foul 80 feet from the basket. Those are plays you can’t make in those situations against a good team.”
Addison fired in 24 points to lead the Lions (6-4, 1-1 MIAA), hitting 8-of-14 field goals and 7-of-7 free throws.
“Marquis’ game, when he is going strong to the basket, that is when he’s most effective,” Corn said. “He can finish plays and get to the free-throw line, and he’s an excellent free-throw shooter. He need to keep the balance of knowing when to take jump shots and when to put the ball on the floor and take it to the basket.”
Stephen Atkinson contributed 18 points for the Lions, going 6-of-12 from the floor, 3-of-7 from beyond the arc and 3-of-5 at the foul line. Jordan Talbert had nine points before fouling out with 2:20 left in regulation, and Morgan Smith limped out a minute later after banging his knee attempting to get around a screen.
Dillon Starzl, 6-foot-8 junior, sank 9-of-12 field goals and 4-of-7 free throws for 22 points for the Bearcats (10-2, 3-0). Hailey, 6-3 senior guard, had 13 points.
There were eight lead changes and six ties during the final 12 minutes of regulation. Starzl’s layin gave the Bearcats a 58-56 lead with 1:50 left, but Stephen Atkinson’s two free throws tied the game at 1:36, and Addison’s reverse layup after almost losing the ball gave the Lions a 60-58 lead with 40 seconds to play.
The Bearcats’ Bryston Williams was fouled as he drove the baseline, and he hit both charities for another tie with 17 seconds left. The Lions had a shot to win, but Addison’s guarded 18-footer bounced off the back of the rim.
Two free throws by Addison, Matt Everson after an Atkinson steal and Addison again after an R.J. Leverette steal gave the Lions their early overtime edge. But the Bearcats scored seven straight points -- five on free throws — for a one-point lead with 1:32 to play.
Addison was fouled on his drive to the basket from the left wing and hit both free throws for a 68-67 Lion lead with 23 seconds left. Starzl then missed on the inside, and the rebound went out of bounds to the Lions with 15 seconds left.
Three times the Lions threw an inbounds pass that was deflected back out of bounds. The Lions then got the ball to Blaine Miller, who was fouled with 11.6 seconds left. He missed both attempts, setting the stage for Hailey’s heroics.
The Lions have another home game Saturday night against Missouri Western.