Men’s basketball season jumps off

Southern’s basketball season is underway as the Lions embark on a exhibition schedule before begining the regular season games.  The team started with a contest Tuesday against Missouri State at JQH Arena and continues with action this week against Arkansas tonight at 7 p.m. at Bud Walton Arena.

With fresh legs to go along with some fresh new faces, the Lions are excited to get back to action on the hardwood.

“Pretty stoked to get the games going,” said sophomore Greg Renfroe.  “Spent a lot of time these last few months getting prepared and in shape so we can have a big year.”

The Lions offense was spearheaded by the play of junior Cameron Cornelius, who led the team with 16 points on four of six shooting.  Marquis Addison followed closely behind with 14 points, supported by junior transfer guard Lane Barlow’s 13.

Renfroe made his presence felt down low as he scored 11 points to go along with his team-leading nine rebounds.

Southern jumped out to a 7-4 lead before the Bears made a 14-5 run to take the lead early on.  The teams would exchange runs throughout the half with the Bears scoring nine of the last 14 which was enough to take a 43-38 lead into the locker room.

As the second half ran its course, the Lions mustered a 15-3 run as they attempted to regain the lead.  Driven by points from Addison, Renfroe, Cameron, and Barlow, Southern was able to climb back within seven at 80-73 as the clock showed just over six minutes remaining.

The Lions would put forth a valiant effort as they rallied on two different occasions to close the gap to a single point, but after letting Missouri State’s lead grow to as much as 19, Southern during the final half Southern simply didn’t have enough gas.

“I thought we played ok last night [Tuesday] and did some things well,” said Assistant Coach Nicholas Bradford. “We are just trying to get better every day.”

The Lions shot an average 38 percent (27-71) from the floor but had a good night from the three-point range, shooting 36 percent (8-22).

In the end the Lions would fall to the Division I Bears in the exibition contest 93-80 but the performance left many opomistic for the season with a few small corrections.

“We gotta talk more on defense,” said Renfroe, “and eliminate turnovers.”

Next up for the Lions are the Razorbacks of Arkansas, another Division I exibition test.  The teams hit the hardwood at 7 p.m.