Hays, Kan. -- The 8th ranked Missouri Southern men's basketball team clinched at least a share of the 2011 MIAA Regular Season Title and will be the No. 1 seed at the upcoming MIAA Tournament, as the Lions took out 15th ranked Fort Hays, 64-63 today in Hays.
The Lions (21-3, 17-3 MIAA) win their second MIAA Regular Season Crown and first since the 1999-2000 season. It is the first time since the 1981 season the Lions have swept the season-series against the Tigers (21-4, 15-5 MIAA). The Lions now have a two-game lead on Hays and the best the Tigers could do would be tie Southern, but the Lions would own the tie breaker.
The Lions were led in scoring by Jason Adams' 23 points and seven rebounds. Skyler Bowlin scored 15 and dished out seven assists, while Keane Thomann had 10 points and eight boards. Jordan Talbert had a career-high nine boards in the contest.
Hays was led in scoring by 17 points and 11 rebounds from Dijon Smith. Dominique Jones scored 14 and dished out 10 assists, while Ben Congiusta scored 11.
The Lions trailed by one going into the locker room (29-28) and trailed by as many as seven on four different occasions in the second half. The Hays' lead was three (59-56) after a layup by Smith with 4:22 left, but a bucket by Thomann cut the lead to one and a three by Bowlin with 3:23 left gave the Lions their first lead (61-59) of the second half.
A bucket by Bowlin with 2:21 left kept the Lions lead at three (63-60) and after a Hays free-throw cut the lead to two, a freebie from Adams pushed the Southern lead to 64-61 with just under a minute to go. Jones hit a jumper the next time down the court to cut the lead to one at 64-61, giving the Lions the ball with 42 seconds to go. Southern ran a play for Bowlin and the three wouldn't go, but a late heave from Jones was no-good and the Lions preserved the win.
Southern shot a season-low 38.7 percent from the field, while hitting just 33 percent of its shots from beyond the arc. The Lions forced 12 turnovers, scoring 11 points off of the miscues and held an advantage of 18-13 in second-chance points.
The Lions come back home for their final two games, playing host to Nebraska-Omaha on Wednesday night and then closing out the regular season with a game against Northwest Missouri a week from today.