Men’s basketball lose nail biter in home opener

John Davidson, staff writer

In front of a large home crowd, the Missouri Southern basketball Lions suffered a heartbreaking 74-72 defeat to Arkansas- Fort Smith in a game they controlled for most of the evening.

After letting Fort Smith jump out to a five point lead very early in the game, Southern found their rhythm and controlled the remainder of the first half. In fact, after taking a 13-11 lead, Southern didn’t trail again until the final minute. The Lions went into halftime with a commanding 11-point lead.

Senior forward Jordan Talbert was big for Southern in the first half, filling the stat with nine points, six rebounds and four assists; nearly on pace for a triple-double. Big keys to Southern’s early success was their ability to protect the ball and play stifling defense, committing only six turnovers while forcing 14.

In the second, Southern came out firing, scoring two quick buckets to take a 16-point advantage. However, Southern was unable to pull away from a resilient Fort Smith team. Southern saw a 16- point lead dwindle down to four when Fort Smith went on a 15-3 run. The run breathed life into Fort Smith, every time Southern started to pull away, Fort Smith responded with a run.

With less than five seconds remaining in the game, Fort Smith scored to take their first lead since they were ahead 11-10. Southern inbounded the ball on a pass up-court looking for senior guard Marquis Addison and the ball was knocked out of bounds off of Fort Smith, leaving Southern with three seconds to score. The ball was inbounded to Talbert who just missed a fade-away baseline shot.

The final whistle blew with Fort Smith victorious.

Addison led Southern in scoring on the night with 21 points. Southern struggled to find a groove in the second half, shooting a meager 30 percent.