Joplin, Mo. -- The Missouri Southern men's basketball team scored the opening bucket and never trailed, defeating visiting Lincoln University 89-61 in front of more than 1,300 fans at the Leggett & Platt Athletic Center Saturday.
Southern (8-0, 4-0 MIAA) remains undefeated and for the moment is tied with Southwest Baptist for first place in the MIAA at 4-0. The two teams will hook up a week from today in Bolivar.
Skyler Bowlin led all scorers with 15 points, while Jason Adams scored 14 and Keane Thomann added a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds. Chris Scruggs scored 11 and pulled down seven boards on 4-7 shooting, while Patrick Hester scored nine and Kevin Hinsey added 11.
Lincoln (2-5, 0-3 MIAA) was led in scoring by Pierre DeClue with 15 points.
Thomann scored on the Lions opening possession and Hinsey added a steal and a dunk to make the score 4-0. The first-half lead reached 20 on three different occasions, the last being after a layup from Hinsey made the score 41-21 with 2:45 left to play. The Lions would take a 43-26 lead into the locker room at the break.
Southern's largest lead of the game was 32 after a bucket by Carles Estorach with 1:51 left in the game.
The Lions forced 23 Lincoln turnovers and scored 26 points off of the miscues. Southern out scored Lincoln 48-28 in the paint and the Lions bench out scored the Blue Tigers 36-30. The Lions shot 44 percent from the field and 71 percent from the free throw line, while limiting Lincoln to just 36 percent from the field.
Southern will be off this Wednesday before the Lions head to Bolivar to take on Southwest Baptist on Saturday night, December 18 in a battle for first-place in the MIAA. Tip off is slated for 7:30 pm.