The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Sports

March 8, 2014

Slim huge as Lions defeat Lopers

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The nickname is Slim, but on Friday night it could have been Gigantic.

Slim Magee, at 6-foot-11, 205 pounds, tallied 24 points and tied the tournament record with 20 rebounds as third-seeded Missouri Southern pulled away late to beat Nebraska-Kearney 87-79 in a quarterfinal game of the MIAA Postseason Tournament.

Marquis Addison contributed 20 points, Lane Barlow had 13 points, seven assists and three steals, and Jordan Talbert added 11 points, eight rebounds, five assists, five blocked shots and two steals as the Lions (22-5) won at Municipal Auditorium for the first time since 2011. They advance to face second-seeded Northwest Missouri State in a semifinal game tonight at 8:15.

There were eight ties and 10 lead changes before the Lions went on the game-deciding 19-10 spree during the final six minutes.  Magee scored the first three buckets on the inside off two passes from Barlow and one from Matt Everson, and he scored moments later off a feed from Talbert.

Addison, returning after sitting almost 10 minutes with four fouls, and Barlow each had a basket and two free throws in the spurt, and Austin Wright nailed a trey from the left side.

“The key was playing together and playing as a team,” Addison said. “Coach drew up a couple of great plays for us that we executed. Austin Wright and Blaine Miller had timely 3s to keep us in the ball game and give us the lead when Jordan and I were out with foul trouble. We had a lot of guys step up in big moments tonight.”

“It was a hard-fought basketball game,” Lions coach Robert Corn said. “We were fortunate that we got things rolling a little bit in the second half offensively. It was a game of runs, and fortunately we made the last one.

“Our defense forced them to take some tough shots late, and then we were able to rebound. The first half they had probably four or five offensive rebound baskets against us. In the second half, and particularly during that (last) run, it was pretty much a 1-and-done situation.”

Magee, a senior from New Orleans, made 10-of-12 field goals and 4-of-5 free throws for his 24 points. He made 7-of-8 shots while scoring 18 second-half points, and he admitted that he doesn’t always see the rim during some of his spin moves.

“I just have so much confidence in myself, I feel like every shot I shoot I’m going to make,” Magee said.

“We did a nice job of getting him the basketball where he could do something with it,” Corn said. “And he did a great job finishing. Any time he catches the ball down low, he’s pretty close to automatic. Our guys understand that, and they want to get him the ball in the offense as much as we can.”

Magee’s 20 rebounds — five offensive and 15 defensive — tied the tournament record shared by Jeff Hutcheon of Northwest Missouri in 1987 and Andy Berlin of Washburn in 1995.

“Any time you get 20 rebounds — I don’t care who you play — that’s a great achievement,” Corn said. “And to get it against a team like Nebraska-Kearney speaks volumes on how well he played tonight, and getting 24 points along with it again speaks volumes.”

Before the final spurt, the Lions fought foul trouble as Addison went out with four fouls with 14:02 left and Talbert  joined him just over two minutes later.

But Miller, Wright and Everson combined for 13 second-half points to keep the Lions within striking distance.

“The bench has been big for us all year,” Corn said. “Blaine hit a huge 3 for us and got a basket on the inside right before that. Austin around the 3-point line, he’s pretty close to being automatic right now.”

Center Mike Dentlinger led the Lopers (15-13) with 27 points, hitting 10-of-18 field goals and 6-of-7 free throws. Connor Beranek had 18 points, Ethan Brozek 14 and Davion Pearson 10.

The Lions owned a 42-33 advantage on the boards and 17-10 margin in second-chance points. The Lions shot 55 percent in the second half and 51 percent for the game, while the Lopers hit 44 percent.

MISSOURI SOUTHERN and Northwest Missouri State, who meet in a semifinal game tonight at 8:15, split their two regular-season meetings. Each won at home — the Bearcats 79-78 and the Lions 82-68. This is the fifth time they have met in the MIAA Tournament. The Lions won 90-79 in the 2000 championship game at home, and the Bearcats have won the last three games — 79-76 in 2002 semifinals, 85-74 in 2004 quarterfinals and 89-56 in 2007 quarterfinals.

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