Men’s basketball takes out No. 25 Central Missouri 76-69


MSSU Lions aspect

MSSU Athletics

Joplin, Mo. – The Missouri Southern men’s basketball team went on a 13-0 run late in the second half and the Lions took out 25th ranked Central Missouri 76-69 on Robert Corn Court inside the Leggett & Platt Athletic Center.

Southern (16-8, 11-4 MIAA) was led by Elyjah Clark with 18 points and 10 rebounds, while LJ Ross added 17 points and six boards. Braelon Walker had 14 points on 4-6 from long-range.

Central (19-5, 11-4 MIAA) was led by 26 points from DJ Richardson.

Both teams traded baskets early on, but the Lions took a 10-8 lead at 17:14 left in the half and proceeded to go on a 7-0 run and lead 15-9 after a jumper from Clark. Clark hit his second three of the game, number 90 on the season, and gave the Lions an 18-12 lead and broke his own MSSU single-season record for threes in the process.

A jumper from Carr with 10:26 put the Lions up 23-14, and back-to-back buckets from Ross with just over five to go put the Lions up 31-22. A three from Clark with 2:35 left gave the Lions a 36-29 lead and Southern would go into the locker room up 38-37 at the break.

Walker hit a three to start the second half, but Central answered that bucket with a 10-0 run and led 47-41 with 15:29 left, forcing a Lions’ timeout. A bucket from Lambert stopped the run with 15:05 left and back-to-back buckets from Memic got the Lions within two (49-47) with 12:51 left.

A quick 5-0 run from the Mules had Central up 54-47 but a three from Clark got the Lions within four (54-50). The Mules opened up a 61-53 lead, but a 9-0 run from the Lions put Southern back on top 62-61 with 6:45 left.

The Lions’ run reached 11-0 and gave Southern a 64-61 lead after a jumper from Carr with 6:14 left, forcing a Central timeout. A turn-around jumper from Ross as time on the shot clock was expiring gave the Lions a 68-61 lead with 3:24 left, and a huge putback from Lambert after a tip back from Walker had the Lions up 72-66 with 1:12 left.

A big defensive play from Lambert with 23 seconds left gave the ball back to the Lions and clutch free throw shooting down the stretch sealed the win.

The Lions shot 54 percent from the field and 40 percent from long-range, while making 77 percent of their free throws. Southern and Central had had identical rebounding lines, but the Lions capitalized on turnovers as Southern scored 21 points off of 13 Central turnovers.

The Lions will be back in action when they travel to Missouri Western on February 14 for a 7:30 pm tip off.