It hasn't been a big adjustment for Stan Scott since he took over as Missouri Southern's point guard one week ago.
“I’ve played point guard most of my life,” he said. “It’s what I’m used to, but when I transferred in here last year I was able to play multiple positions.”
Last year Scott came to Missouri Southern from Oakland (Mich.) and averaged 3.7 points in 11 games. His opportunities were limited because there were seniors ahead of him.
This year he's moved into the starting lineup and averaged 14.5 points and 5.4 rebounds. He poured in a career-best 32 points on Thursday night's 102-94 overtime loss against Fort Hays State.
“I’m definitely more comfortable now as everyone can see,” Scott said. “I was the same player last year. We had a different team last year. I’m still the same player. Now this is my time.”
The Lions (5-6) have to put the disappointing loss behind them and entertain Nebraska-Kearney at 3:30 this afternoon.
The Lopers (5-7) are fresh from an 85-75 victory Thursday night at Pittsburg State behind senior guard Jake Walker's career-high 30 points, doubling his 15.7 season average. Sophomore guards Cedrick Johnson and Myles Arnold also doubled their averages with 18 and 16 points, respectively.
"They have a lot of returning guys,” MSSU coach Jeff Boschee said. “They played Northwest Missouri tough at their place. They’re a very good basketball team. It’s going to be another test for us. We’re going through some growing pains, going through some adversity right now."
The Lions hit 5-of-8 shots while jumping out to a 14-1 lead in the first five minutes against Fort Hays State, but they were 7-of-25 the rest of the half and led 37-35 at halftime.
“We took some awful 15-footers over hands off the dribble, and that’s a 25% shot, 30% shot,” Boschee said. “They have to be more disciplined. I have to be a better coach about getting on them about taking those shots. I want them to play free, but I want them to play also disciplined.”
Cam Martin, who battled foul trouble and played only 10 of the last 25 minutes, finished with 19 points and 11 rebounds. Lawson Jenkins contributed 14 points, and freshman Avery Taggart had a season-high 11 points off the bench.
“We have to find somebody to give us production off the bench,” Boschee said. “I thought Avery came in and gave us a big lift. That’s huge for his confidence. He’s been struggling with his confidence. We know he can shoot the ball. We see it every day in practice. But when the lights turn on and the popcorn is popping, you have to be able to step up and make shots. Hopefully this will get him going a little bit because we’re getting nothing from our bench. When we get in foul trouble like we did (Thursday night), we need to find somebody.”
MSSU vs. UNK
MISSOURI SOUTHERN (5-6)
F RJ Smith, 6-5 sr. 5.4
F Lawson Jenkins, 6-7 fr. 7.2
F Christian Bundy, 6-5 jr. 7.4
C Cam Martin, 6-9 sr. 24.5
G Stan Scott, 6-4 sr. 14.5
F Austin Luger, 6-8 sr. 15.6
G Matt Brien, 6-4 jr. 6.1
G Myles Arnold, 6-1 so. 7.8
G Jake Walker, 6-2 sr. 15.7
G Cedric Johnson, 6-2 so. 9.3
Tipoff: 3:30 p.m.
Site: Leggett & Platt Athletic Center
Coaches: Jeff Boschee, 7th year at MSSU (129-67). Kevin Lofton, 16th year at UNK (244-189).
Series: UNK leads 23-14 after Lions' 89-77 road victory last year. The Lions are 10-8 at home against the Lopers.
Radio: WMBH (1560 AM, 101.3 FM), KSEK (1340 AM, 107.9 FM), KXMS (88.7 FM), 3:15 p.m.