Lions get back to winning ways after 3-game losing skid


Willie Brown, The Chart

Junior forward Jordan Talbert throws down a dunk as opposing players look on during Tuesday night’s game against Central Bible.

No one quite knew what to expect.

A program that had advanced to the Division-II national tournament two years in a row had since lost three players who could each make a case for having the best career in the history of Missouri Southern.

When the 2012-13 men’s basketball regular season tipped off, it seemed like the Lions would pick up right where they left off.

The team opened up 3-0, defeating John Brown by 20 and both Avila and Lincoln by three.

After that stretch, though, Southern was beaten three times, all three on the road, by Ark.-Fort Smith, West Texas A&M and East New Mexico.

“I think every team has their own identity and we don’t have the explosiveness that we’ve had in the past few years … we haven’t had as many opportunities because we’re not as fast-paced as we have been,” Head Coach Robert Corn said.

“So your possessions are down. Anytime your possessions are down and you’re not shooting the ball like you’re capable of shooting it, then your scoring percentage is going to be lower. But obviously we’d like for it to be up there. But I think as we progress and stuff and start shooting the basketball better, it will get up there.”

Since the run of three straight losses, Southern has knocked off Arkansas Tech and Central Bible College.

In the Central Bible game, Southern was the beneficiary of a career night from sophomore forward Stephen Atkinson as the Benton, Ky. product netted 20 points in the 69-39 win.

Tomorrow, the Lions go for their second three-game win streak of the young season.

A win would also open the conference slate on a high note for Southern as they will be traveling to Kirksville, Mo. to face Truman State.

The Bulldogs were picked to finish No. 13 in the conference’s preseason coaches’ poll.

Still, Corn and his team are not overlooking the match-up.

 “What makes Saturday’s game so important is the fact that we don’t play another game, another conference game, for over three weeks,” Corn said.

“So it’s going to be very important to go up there and play well and give ourselves a chance to win. If you are fortunate enough to get a road win, particularly early in the season, that’s a big plus for you. So we realize the importance of our first conference game.”

Tomorrow’s game tips off at 3 p.m.

Southern will then take on Livin’ the Dream in a Dec. 29 exhibition and return to conference play when it hosts Northwest Missouri State on Jan. 3.