MSSU Lions basketball season review: Men finish season 25-8

Lions huddled during a timeout againt Pitt on Feb.19 

Lions huddled during a timeout againt Pitt on Feb.19 

The season has come to an end for the Missouri Southern State men’s basketball team following a loss to the now Division II champions Northwest Missouri State Bearcats in a 82-70 Regional Final loss.

The Lions finished with a record of 25-8 overall and 14-5 in conference play. The Lions stayed undefeated at home as the program had its fourth best season behind the 1999-2000 team with 33 wins, the 1977-78 team with 27 wins, and 10-11 team with 26 wins.

“We put ourselves in a position to go play in the Elite Eight but just came up short,” said sophomore Cam Martin. “Our goals were to win a conference tournament and then a national championship, but we up short on both of them.”

The Lions’ longest winning streak this season was 11 games which began against Minnesota State University on Nov. 10, 2018 and ended against Lindenwood on Jan. 3, 2019.

The Lions averaged 86.7 points per game while allowing an average of 77.4 points per game.

“I feel that it was a great season and finishing as one of the last 16 teams playing shows that we are an elite team in this country,” said junior, Braelon Walker.

The Lions will only lose one player next season as Senior Enis Memic finished his last year of eligibility.

The Lions will return all five of its starters which includes junior Reggie Tharp, junior Kinzer Lambert, Walker, junior Elyjah Clark, and Martin.

The Lions will also be returning junior Parker Jennings who provided minutes for Lions off the bench.

The Lions will have a total of six seniors next year including reserve center junior Ted Brown.

“Knowing that its our last year together and playing together we know we have to do whatever it takes to be holding that trophy at the end of next season,” said Walker.

The Lions have had multitude of individual awards and records including Clark becoming the Lions all time leading leader in three pointers made as a Lion.

Clark has also extended his streak of consecutive games with a three pointer with 47 straight games dating back to January of 2017.

The Lions had four players given All-MIAA honors including Clark who was named on the third team, Lambert and Walker getting honorable mentions, while Martin was named to the first team.

Martin also received two first team All-Region honors while being named an All-American. Martin is also one of the 25 finalist of the Bevo Francis Division II Player of the Year Award.

The six finalist will be announced on April 6 with the award being presented on April 8 to the best men’s player in Division II basketball.

“It’s great to get individual recognition and I’m very grateful, but at the end of the day I would trade all the awards for a conference or national championship,” said Martin.

The Lions will have off-season workouts and training throughout the summer before the season the 2019 season starts next fall.