KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Cam Martin’s 22 points led three players in double figures, and No. 10 Missouri Southern owned a big advantage at the foul line to beat Minnesota State-Mankato 74-69 on Saturday afternoon in the MIAA/Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference Challenge at Municipal Auditorium.
Martin sank 5-of-13 field goals, 2-of-4 from the 3-point arc and 10-of-12 free throws. He scored 12 points in the second half and also finished with eight rebounds, four assists, one blocked shot and one steal.
Guard Parker Jennings provided a first-half spark and finished with 16 points for the Lions (2-0). Jennings, a senior guard, led the Lions with 15 points in 12 first-half minutes, hitting 3-of-5 3-point attempts, his only shot inside the arc and all four free throws.
Elyjah Clark hit two treys and ended with 12 points plus seven rebounds, and Kinzer Lambert just missed a double-double with eight points and nine rebounds.
Corvon Seales nailed five 3s and scored 19 points off the bench to lead the Mavericks (0-2). Ryland Holt scored 15, Kevin Krieger 13 and Cameron Kirksey 12.
Minnesota State took eight more shots and had a slightly higher field-goal shooting percentage — 41 percent to the Lions’ 38 — and it made two more 3-pointers (12-10) as both teams attempted 30 shots.
But the Lions went 21-of-26 at the foul line to the Mavericks’ 4-of-8. The Lions made 15 of their first 16 charities before going 6-of-10 in the final four minutes.
The Mavericks led 17-7 after nine minutes before the Lions went on an 18-5 spurt to take a 25-22 lead with five minutes left in the half. Jennings accounted for 11 points during the 5 1/2 minute stretch with a layup and three 3s. The last two treys came on consecutive trips and with assists from Stan Scott. Scott also had four points and Martin hit a 3 during that time.
Minnesota State bounced back to lead 40-37 at halftime, and neither team led by more than four points during the first 11 minutes of the second half.
It was 55-55 with nine minutes left when the Lions went on a 12-5 spree to take a lead they never relinquished. Braelon Walker’s trey tied the game at 58-58, and Lambert’s trey almost a minute later gave the Lions a 61-59 lead with 7:28 left. Clark also hit a 3 a minute later, Martin sank a free throw and Reggie Tharp drove for a layup and a 67-60 lead with 3:42 to play.
Minnesota State scored the next five points to make it a two-point game with 2:16 left, but Martin and Clark made two free throws apiece, Jennings hit one and Lambert scored on a layup to preserve the lead.
The Lions open their home season at 3 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 17, against Saint Mary (Kansas).