Winston Dessesow's availability literally was a game-day decision.
Dessesow had been in a quarantine until he was cleared to play on the day of Missouri Southern's basketball opener.
"He actually just got back to us actually at 12:01 a.m. (Thursday)," assistant coach Paul McMahon said. "So we haven't had him around, but I told him, 'It's like riding a bike. You get out there, and it will come back to you.' ''
Dessesow didn't do any bike riding, but he did knock down the game-winning, 15-foot jump shot with 9.2 seconds remaining to boost the Lions past Central Oklahoma 75-74 on Thursday night in Edmond, Oklahoma.
Dessesow's shot capped a comeback that saw the Lions erase a five-point deficit in the final 1:24. He finished with 21 points, hitting 7-of-15 field goals. 5-of-11 3-pointers and both free throws in addition to handing out a team-high four assists.
Cam Martin tallied 27 points and snagged 10 rebounds to lead the Lions. Martin had more 3-pointers (2) than 2-pointers (1) in the first half, but he responded with 18 points in the second half. He shot 10-of-16 from the floor, 3-of-4 from the arc and 4-of-7 at the line.
Stan Scott made an early appearance off the bench after RJ Smith picked up two quick fouls, and Scott turned in his best game as a Lion with 14 points in 31 minutes. He was 6-of-9 from the floor and also had four rebounds, an assists, two steals and two blocked shots.
"Stan made a lot of plays defensively," McMahon said. "He had a lot of steals, deflections, got his hands on the ball, pushed it in transition. What I like to see out of Stan is on a couple of those transition plays, he had the IQ and wherewithal to pull the ball out when he didn't have an advantage. He's a kid who has stayed the course, and now he's starting to reap the benefits of trusting the process and really trusting us as a program."
The Lions are back in action today in Wichita as the guest for Newman's season debut. One thing the Lions are looking to improve is their rebounding. On Thursday night they were outrebounded 40-34, including 12-7 on offensive rebounds, and they were outscored 20-12 in second-chance points.
"I thought defensively we were pretty good," McMahon said. "Now rebounding, we really have to go back to work, get the hard hats on. That's a toughness thing, and that's something that Coach (Jeff) Boschee and what we do with our program, we want to be the toughest team on the floor every single time out and be the toughest team for 40 minutes."
McMahon had his first game filling in as head coach while Boschee is in quarantine. After the game, he said it was his understanding that the wins go on his record and the losses go on Boschee's record.
"I've watched Coach Boschee do it for four years," he said. "You stick around long enough, you learn from a great mentor like him. I tried to pull a few of his tricks out there. He's one of the best in the business. I'm lucky to have the opportunity and appreciate him trusting me to do so."
MSSU vs. Newman
MISSOURI SOUTHERN (1-0)
F Christian Bundy, 6-5 jr. 4.0
F RJ Smith, 6-5 sr. 0.0
C Cam Martin, 6-9 sr. 27.0
G Winston Dessesow, 6-0 so. 21.0
G Kyle Younge, 5-10 so. 0-0
F David Javorsky, 6-7 jr.
F Jacob Birnbaum, 6-7 sr.
F DeAndre Johnson, 6-7 jr.
G J'Sebian Brown, 6-4 jr.
G Tyjil Hereford, 5-7 sr.
Tipoff: 3:30 p.m.
Site: Fugate Gymnasium, Wichita
Coaches: Jeff Boschee, 7th year at MSSU (125-61). R.J. Allen, 4th year at Newman (43-42).
Series: MSSU leads 2-1 after last season's 79-49 home victory. The Lions have lost their only road game against the Jets 86-84 in overtime on Dec. 17, 2007.
Radio: WMBH (1560 AM, 101.3 FM), KSEK (1340 AM, 107.9 FM), KXMS (88.7 FM), 3:15 p.m.