Adams' 20 points lifts Lions over Central Bible, 72-51

Joplin, Mo. -  The Missouri Southern basketball team opened up a 20 point halftime lead and cruised to a 72-51 victory over visiting Central Bible tonight in the Lions' home opener at the Leggett & Platt Athletic Center in Joplin.

The Lions (3-0) were led in scoring from Jason Adams as the sophomore scored 20 points on 9-11 shooting from the field. He pulled down four rebounds and dished out five assists. DaRell Crittendon scored 14 points, all in the first half, while Skyler Bowlin dished out eight assists.

Central Bible moves to 3-4 on the season and had three players score in double-figures.

Southern opened up the game with a 12-0 run behind eight points form Adams, before the Spartans picked up their first points of the game on a three from Chris Weber. The lead grew to 16-3 at the first media timeout as the Lions forced six turnovers on four steals in the first five minutes.

The lead was 38-15 after a bucket from Crittendon with 4:32 in the half and the Lions took a 42-22 lead into the locker room. Southern shot 57 percent from the field and forced 13 turnovers. Crittendon led the Lions with 14 points in the half, while Adams scored 12.

The Lions came out and pounced on the Spartans, scoring the first ten points of the second half and pushing their lead to 30 (52-22) after an alley-oop dunk from Crittendon to Adams. The lead was 33 (59-26) after a pair of free throws from TJ Williams, before Central Bible went on a 17-2 run to cut the lead to 21 (61-43). A pair of free throws from Chris Scruggs with 5:17 left stopped the Spartan run.

The Lions shot 49 percent from the field and 73 percent from the free-throw line, while outscoring the Spartans 54-24 in the paint. Southern forced 22 CBC turnovers, scoring 31 points off of the miscues. The Lions' bench outscored the Spartans' 19-2.

Southern will be back in action this weekend, playing host to the Freeman Sports Medicine/Chris Tucker Memorial Classic. The Lions will take on Mid-American Christian on Friday night, and will face-off with Southwestern (Kan.) on Saturday.