Men’s team looks to improve MIAA standing

As the basketball team plays through the final games of its regular season, it is safe to say that the games down the stretch are very important.  

As the Lions (11-12, 6-9 MIAA) prepared for a contest, their second to last home game, against Emporia State (11-11, 6-8 MIAA) at Leggett & Platt on Saturday, they were coming off yet another tough loss on the road.  

It was a loss that put the team in a bigger hole in the rankings, but the team knows there are still games to be played.

“If we win out it would put us in a better place in the conference, and we can go in and play in postseason, and we showed we can play with the best teams in the league so anything can happen from there,” said junior guard RJ Leverette.  

Such is a goal very worthy of shooting for and the first step of the climb was against ESU.

The game began slowly as both teams had trouble shooting from the floor, but as the game pressed on, the Lions got hot.  

Led in scoring by Austin Wright and Greg Renfroe with 10 points each, followed closely by Stephen Atkinson and Marquis Addison who both had nine, the Lions pulled out to a 40-25 lead with just over two minutes left in the first half.  

The Lions were helped in large part by play in the post and Hornet turnovers, but as the last few seconds ticked away, the Hornets had managed to close the margin and it was only a 40-31 lead for Southern at the half.

Coming out of the locker room, the Hornets had the momentum.  

They closed the margin to a three point lead quickly and at the 14:30 mark took the lead 46-45 over the Lions.

The lead was swapped back and forth as the second half continued with both teams putting out maximum effort, and as the half came to one minute left, Southern trailed 66-64.

Although the Lions made good fouling decisions and scored to keep the Hornets within reach, a tough call by the referees put Leverette on the line for a one-and-one when the home crowd felt like he should have been shooting three.  

Their effort was all for naught as the Lions fell 69-66 in the end.  

“It’s going to be very important that we play well each and every time out and give ourselves a chance,” Head Coach Robert Corn said.  

“Hopefully if we give ourselves a chance in enough of the games we will be able to take advantage of some of them.”  

Travel conditions forced Thursday night’s scheduled game with Central Oklahoma to be pushed to Monday.

Then, the Lions will be back in action against Pittsburgh state on Feb. 27.