Men gear up for MIAA conference play


Matt Barney

Freshman Kinzer Lambert double clutching between two Rockhurst defenders on Robert Corn Court inside the Leggett & Platt Athletic Center on Nov. 22, 2016. 

The Missouri Southern men’s basket- ball team started their 2016-2017 season off on a good foot going 4-0 in their first four non-conference games. In those four games, Southern averaged 94 points per game, while shooting 45% from the field and scoring 35 points in the paint per game. One of those wins came against then No. 17 ranked Minnesota State.

Prior to conference play opening up on Thursday, Southern traveled to Springfield, Mo. to play in the Double- tree by Hilton / Houlihan’s Thanksgiving Classic hosted by Drury (Mo.). There Southern would face Missouri S&T and the No. 15 ranked Drury Panthers. This would be Southern’s final two non-conference games before conference play.

First, Southern would face off against S&T. Southern last faced S&T in a regular season game back in 2009. Since, the two teams have met several times in only exhibition games where S&T has gone undefeated.

The first half was back and forth as neither team could create any separation. Southern held the biggest lead of the half at 46-40. The first would end 46-42 Lions.

In the second half, the Lions, again, held a six point at 66-60 with 9:47 to go. An 11-0 run by S&T would give them a five point lead with 6:16 left in the game. S&T increased their lead to eight points with 3:23 left. From there S&T wouldn’t allow the Lions to get with- in four as the Lions fell to S&T 94-88.

Four different players scored in double figures for the Lions led by freshman guard Elyjah Clark with 19 points.

Junior guard CJ Carr scored 18 points on 32% shooting. Junior guard Vince Fritz scored a Southern career-high with 17 points in 28 minutes of play.

The following day, the Lions would take on Drury. Drury turned the ball over 12 times in the first half and still managed to hold a one point lead heading into the break. No player for either team scored in double figures in the first half as Southern shot 34% from the floor, while Drury shot 46%.

The second half was all Drury. The Lions fell behind for their biggest deficit of this young season at the 5:10 mark. Southern trailed 77-54 at that point and would go on to lose 83-68.

In Southern’s two loses, they scored an average of 78 points, while shooting under 38%. They also gave up 47 bench points per game.

Southern will play their final home game of their two game home stand tomorrow against Nebraska-Kearney. Neb-Kearney opened their conference season up win over Pittsburg State University (Kan.) Tip-off from the Leggett & Platt Athletic Center is scheduled for 3 p.m.