Kansas City, Mo. -- Patrick Hester calmly downed a three pointer from the top of the key with 1:10 left to go in the game to give the fourth-ranked Lions a one-point lead and Southern held on to defeat Northeastern State 68-66 today in a game at the Sprint Center in Kansas City.
Southern (6-0) trailed 38-27 at the half, but went on a 16-4 run to start the second half and took a one point lead (43-42) with 12:07 left in the game after a pair of free throws from Hester. The run was 24-6 at the ten minute mark of the half as Southern had its largest lead of the game (seven) after a tip in from Jason Adams with 9:47 left made the score 51-44.
Northeastern State (0-5) re-took the lead at 60-59 and again at 66-62 after a layup from Landon DeMasters with 1:57 left to go in the game.
A dunk from Adams with 1:20 left cut the lead to two (66-64) and after a turnover by NSU, Hester hit his three to give the Lions a 67-66 lead. A free-throw from Christian Salecich pushed the Lions' lead to two (68-66) and a layup from the Riverhawks as time expired was no good to preserve the Southern win.
Keane Thomann led the Lions with 18 points and seven rebounds, while Hester scored 13 points on 3-4 shooting from long range. Adams scored 13, while Marquis Addison added 12. Salecich had five points and five assists.
The Lions and Riverhawks were tied at 26 points each in the paint, while the Lions held a 12-8 advantage on second chance points and a 6-0 lead on the fast break. Southern held a 34-25 advantage on the boards.
The Lions will be back in action on November 30 when Southern plays host to Truman to start MIAA play. Tip off is slated for 7:30 pm from the Leggett & Platt Athletic Center.