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Globe/Bill Stewart Guard Joey Savage (left) tries to find an opening in coverage from Rockhurst University defender Joey Deas during Monday night’s game.

By Jim Fryar

jfryar@joplinglobe.com

Rockhurst overcame poor shooting with rugged rebounding and whipped Missouri Southern 64-49 Monday night.

The Hawks took advantage of repeated Missouri Southern mistakes to break open a three-point game with 6:25 remaining.

“Coming out of a timeout, we had three straight turnovers,” said Southern coach Robert Corn. “Our team, right now, does not understand how precious the basketball is. We had 16 turnovers, but they came in bunches and they came at critical times.”

Rockhurst, 5-1, was quick to capitalize. A layup by Kevin Martin started a run of 11 straight points that gave the Hawks a 55-41 lead with 2:31 remaining. The Lions got no closer than 11 points down the stretch.

The Hawks dominated the boards 43-29 and had 22 offensive rebounds to overcome 21-of-59 shooting (35.6 percent).

“We didn’t respond well (after managing just 10 first-half rebounds),” Corn said.

“We were swatting at the basketball with one hand rather than going up with two hands strong. We were allowing them to push us out of the way. We didn’t compete on the boards like you have to compete.”

The loss was the second straight for the Lions after a 4-0 start.

“I’m starting to see some chinks in the armor,” said Corn.

“The last two games, I’ve felt like the tougher team won the game and it hasn’t been Missouri Southern. I’m disappointed we didn’t have better toughness and we didn’t have better energy.”

Kevin Martin, a muscular 6-foot-4 forward, led Rockhurst with 17 points and sharp-shooting senior guard Joey Deas scored 16. Sophomore guard Aaron Hill, who hit four 3-pointers, added 14 points. John Torson, 6-10 senior center, had nine points and blocked six Southern shots.

That balance was too much for the Lions.

Southern repeatedly worked the ball in to 6-8 junior Deonte Cox in rallying from a 12-point deficit early in the second half. Cox, who was 10-of-14 from the floor, had 17 of his game-high 23 points in the second half.

Senior Ed Miles had nine points, but no other Southern player scored more than four.

“Two of those turnovers (during Rockhurst’s game-breaking run), we tried to feed Deonte, but we tried to go too quick,” Corn said. “We just did a poor job of playing smart basketball at crucial stages in the game.”

Martin and senior Jon-Erik Price had eight rebounds each for Rockhurst. Junior point guard T.J. Britton led Southern with five rebounds and had all four of the team’s steals.

The Lions trailed 28-20 at halftime and fell behind 36-24 early in the second half. Cox had six of the points as the Lions went on a 12-2 run to trail just 38-36.

But Southern had turnovers on three of its next four possessions.

The Lions resume play Saturday with a 7 p.m. game at Augustana, S.D. They return home next Tuesday to meet Northeastern (Okla.) State.



ROCKHURST (64) — Joey Deas 5-14 4-4 16, Aaron Hill 5-9 0-0 14, Jon-Erik Price 2-8 2-4 6, Kevin Martin 4-9 9-11 17, John Torson 4-8 0-0 9, Jake Meyer 0-6 0-0 0, Tyler Knust 0-0 0-0 0, Jordan Rider 0-1 0-0 0, Joshua Kwajah 0-0 0-0 0, Brent Thome 0-2 0-0 0, Andrew Martin 0-0 0-00, Nathan Winslow 1-2 0-0 2. Totals 21-59 15-19 64.

MISSOURI SOUTHERN (49) — Stanley Titsworth 2-7 0-1 4, T.J. Britton 2-6 0-0 4, Joey Savage 1-3 0-0 3, Deonte Cox 10-14 3-4 23, Matt Habermehl 1-2 0-0 2, Tyler Ryerson 0-1 0-0 0, Terrell Rice 0-3 0-0 0, Ed Miles 4-6 1-2 9, Trevor Logan 0-1 0-0 0, Myron Hodge 1-5 0-0 2, Dale Hunter 0-2 2-2 2. Totals 21-50 6-9 49.

Halftime—Rockhurst 28, Southern 20. 3-point goals—Rockhurst 7-21 (Deas 2-5, Hill 4-8, Torson 1-2, Meyer 0-4, Rider 0-1, Winslow 0-1), Southern 1-8 (Titsworth 0-2, Savage 1-1, Habermehl 0-1, Rice 0-2, Hodge 0-2). Rebounds—Rockhurst 43 (Price, K.Martin 8), Southern 29 (Britton 5). Assists—Rockhurst 10 (Torson 4), Southern 15 (Ryerson 4). Steals—Rockhurst 14 (Torson 4), Southern 4 (Britton 4). Blocked shots—Rockhurst 8 (Torson 6), Southern 6 (Hodge 2). Turnovers—Rockhurst 15, Southern 16. Total fouls—Rockhurst 15, Southern 15. Fouled out—None.

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