Southern needs key victory

Missouri Southern (15-4, 9-3 MIAA) will look to avenge a difficult 75-62 defeat to the Mules of Central Missouri as the Lions host their end of the back-to back contests on Saturday at the Leggett & Platt Athletic Center.’

Following the loss to Central, the Lions feel confident the home court, where the team is 10-2 this season, will be the advantage needed to walk away with the W.

“I think it is definitely going to benefit us,” said senior Jordan Talbert, “along with this break we have since we don’t play today [Wednesday].”

With the season quickly moving toward its conclusion, the Lions are in

need of a statement victory against the level of competition that will undoubtedly make up the finalists in the MIAA Tournament, and most importantly the Division II Tournament, but after two losses to the highest competition in the MIAA in the last four games, the Lions continue searching for that victory.

The schedule to the finish sets up well for the Lions as four of the last seven games will be played at home, including four of the next five in which the Lions face Central, Northwest, and, on senior day, arch-rival Pittsburg State Gorillas.

The Lions face this slew of must-win games as the team has now dropped to the fourth spot in the MIAA rankings.

“It’s a must-win game for us,” said senior Marquis Addison. “We know our goal is a conference championship, and this is a big step toward accomplishing it.”

The contest against the Mules saw the teams go back and forth as they got their feet wet in the early going. The score was tied at six, moving under the 15-minute mark in the fi rst half when Central began establishing itself. The Mules pushed the lead to nine on multiple occasions behind a 12-3 run, and a 10-4 run that ended the opening half.

The second half was more of the same as the Lions would battle but simply could not pull even. They cut the lead to single digits on two different occasions but ultimately lost to the Mules 75-62.

Senior Marquis Addison led the Lions in scoring. He put up 18 points, enough to move him into eighth all-time in scoring as he passes Matt Olson (95- 99). Behind Addison were the likes of Greg Renfroe, who managed nine points, and Talbert, Cameron Cornelius, and Lane Barlow, who each scored eight.

In the end, the Lions got away from what had made them successful all season.

They turned the ball over 15 times while only managing a single assist and shooting 1-11 from three-point land, but the stat that tells the tale of the Lions’ demise on this night was the zero fast break points.

This key facet to Southern’s game was utterly shut down by the Mules’ defense and a statistic that must read crooked numbers to see a different outcome on Saturday afternoon.

The rematch tips off at 3 p.m. in the Leggett & Platt Athletic Center and

Southern looks to start the final chapter of the season off on the right foot with “that victory.”