Second-round defeat sends men’s basketball home early

One of the most successful seasons in Missouri Southern men’s basketball history has come to a close.

The success of the season is reflected in the fact that Head Coach Robert Corn has been named one of 17 finalists for’s Coach of the Year award. The winner will be announced at the website’s awards banquet Friday in Houston.

The Lions finished with a record of 26-5 overall.

Southern’s postseason march began on Feb. 23 when a victory over the University of Nebraska-Omaha gave it an outright MIAA Regular Season Championship, sending them to Kansas City for the conference tournament. There, they advanced to the final round against Fort Hays State University. The Tigers won the MIAA Postseason Championship, 89-83, but Southern still went into regionals as the No. 2 seed, facing MIAA foe Washburn in the first round.

The Ichabods pushed the game into overtime, however, as they did all season, junior guard Jason Adams and senior guard Skyler Bowlin led the Lions’ offense combining for 51 points to help Southern advance with an 82-79 victory.

“We felt very fortunate,” Corn said. “We played during a spurt in the second-half where we got a seven-point lead, I believe, and that thing went in a hurry. We knew it would; Washburn’s a very good basketball team. [Logan ] Stutz and [De’Andre] Washington, those two guys have always been a handful for us, and obviously they were a handful again today.”

In the second round of regionals, Southern was matched up against Midwestern State University. The Lions appeared overmatched from tip-off, losing 75-52 to a team much credited for its speed.

Southern turned the ball over 18 times in the game and Bowlin and Adams combined for only 20 points as the team shot an anemic 34 percent from the floor in the game.

“Well Midwestern State was by far the quickest team we played all year,” Corn said. “And their quickness presented a lot of challenges, a lot of problems for us.

“On our offense, they forced us down on the floor a little farther than what we wanted to play, they challenged every shot, and we rushed shots I think, instead of just knocking down shots.

“And then they knocked a lot of loose balls out that they were able to chase down and convert into easy baskets.”

Bowlin is one of three seniors the Lions will lose after this season. Forwards Rich Borries and Chris Scruggs will also be out of eligibility.

However, Southern will return four of its five starters from this season’s team. Adams will join center Keane Thomann, guard Marquis Addison and forward Jordan Talbert as the 2011-12 team’s returning starters.