Lions offense looks to continue high scoring

Lions+offense+looks+to+continue+high+scoring

Joshua Boley/The Chart

Lions offense looks to continue high scoring

Ian Taylor

Following a tough loss to Arkansas-Fort Smith in the home opener at the Leggett & Platt Athletic Center, the Lions (5-1) have finally found themselves on the hardwood after winning the last three contests over Avila and Bethany at the Pittsburg State Classic, and Ottawa, by an average of 35 points. Large margins of victory helped by quality shooting and solid play led to scoring totals of 108, 112 and 101 in the respective contests.

“Since the loss it’s been tough,” said junior Lane Barlow, “so we have stepped it up personally and as a team.”

Through the early going the team has been led by the usual suspects like seniors Marquis Addison and Jordan Talbert, but also emerging as a key component to the team is newcomer Slim Magee. A force down low for the Lions, Magee is averaging 9.5 points per game while grabbing 4.2 rebounds, but in the last three blowout victories Magee posted 14, 18 and 11 points as Southern has used his size to take over the paint.

“We always try to establish the ball inside first to open up the outside,” said Barlow. “We like to get it to the post or on the drive before the guards go to work.”

Against Avila, Addison led the Lions with 22 on 8-11 shooting, followed by Magee with his 14.  Southern made quick work of a contest against the overmatched opponent as they ran the advantage to 26-4 around halfway through the first 20 minutes. The eventual halftime score was 54-30, and once the second half began it was more of the same. Southern shot over 65 percent from the floor and parlayed the tremendous offense, and 67 bench points, into an eventual 108-67 victory.

The next night the Lions played their final contest of the Pitt State Classic against Bethany, and with five different players hitting the double figure plateau, Southern was able to post the highest point total in 10 years (112).  Leading the Lions was sophomore guard Austin Wright who hit 5-7 from three-point range on his way to 20 points on the night. The others in double figures were Magee with 18, Talbert and Addison with 16 each, and Blaine Miller of the bench to tie his career high with 11.

The Lions dominated the first half against Bethany, taking a 30 point lead to the half after a tip-in from Magee, and as the final half ran its course, the lead was stretched to as much as 43. Southern dominated down low with a 34-7 advantage in second-chance points along with a 43-23 advantage in rebounds, all combining to a 112-74 victory for the Lions.

The final game in the 100-point trilogy was the home contest against Ottawa, in which the Lions once again had five scorers in double-figures. Barlow led the scoring with a season high 17, followed by Cameron Cornelius with 16, Addison with 12, Magee with 11 and Wright with 10.

 Much as in the previous games, the Lions took the floor by storm, establishing a lead early and building it to 16 (53-37) at the half. After continuing to increase the advantage throughout the second half, Stephen Atkinson put the exclamation point on the contest with a three that pushed the Lions over the century mark with 19 seconds left, leading to the 101-75 victory.

The Lions get back underway with two games at home this week.

“I think that our chemistry is really starting to increase,” said Talbert.  “We’re becoming more of a team which is translating to better production.”