The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Sports

December 7, 2013

Wright's perfect shooting leads Lions past Washburn 110-73

CARL JUNCTION, Mo. — Austin Wright couldn’t miss.

And several of his teammates didn’t misfire that often.

Fueled by Wright’s record-setting performance from long range, Missouri Southern shot 55 percent from the field and blitzed No. 22 Washburn 110-73 Saturday afternoon at the Leggett & Platt Athletic Center.

Ahead 47-40 at halftime, the Lions outscored Washburn 63-33 during a second half that coach Robert Corn termed “our best 20 minutes of basketball in a long time.”

The Lions made 23-of-44 shots overall and 8-of-14 3-pointers while limiting Washburn to 28 percent (8-of-29).

“Any time you hold them to 28 percent shooting, you have to be pleased,” Corn said. “They probably missed some shots that normally they would make, but also a lot of those shots were contested, too.

“When you work hard on the defensive end, then all of a sudden your offense comes a little easier. We were able to push the basketball upcourt and get some things in transition. I thought we did a good job in the second half of speeding them up a little bit.”

The Lions (7-1, 2-0 MIAA) reached the century mark for the fourth time in five games on Stephen Atkinson’s two free throws with 3:16 left. They posted their highest point total and victory margin ever against the Ichabods.

Wright, 6-foot-1 sophomore guard, headlined the shooting display by making all eight of his field-goal attempts — seven from 3-point range and one with one foot on the arc. The 7-of-7 effort is the best perfect 3-point shooting game in school history, surpassing Allan Brown’s 5-for-5 against Truman State on Feb. 15, 1997.

“It’s the confidence knowing I’m putting in the extra work and it’s paying off for me,” Wright said. “It almost feels like you could just throw it up and it would go in. I have to give credit to my teammates. They were looking for me and kept me involved. That really helps.”

Senior guard Marquis Addison described Wright’s shooting with one word.

“Normal,” he said. “I see it all the time in practice. For everybody else, it’s eye-popping to see this 7-for-7 and 8-for-8 overall. But for me, I shoot with him every day, and once he gets hot like that, there’s no stopping him.”

Jordan Talbert made 8-of-11 shots while scoring a season-high 20 points. Addison, one day after his 22nd birthday, and Slim Magee scored 13 points apiece. Guard Cameron Cornelius and center Greg Renfroe added 12 points apiece, and Renfroe grabbed 13 rebounds for his first collegiate double-double.

Renfroe and Devin Spencer also blocked three shots apiece, and Randy Clark had three of the Lions’ eight steals.

“Defense was great for us,” Addison said. “It was a great birthday weekend overall. My family and friends are here. We were focused all week on getting two wins. That would be the best present I could get, and my guys delivered for me for sure. A big shoutout to them for that.”

Guard Kyle Wiggins led Washburn (8-1, 1-1) with 14 points. The Ichabods allowed 100 points for the first time in 88 games. They averaged 88 points and allowed 72 during their first eight games.

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