Joplin, Mo. -- The 16th ranked Missouri Southern men's basketball team held off visiting Northwest Missouri and won 84-76 tonight in front of more than 2,000 fans at the Leggett & Platt Athletic Center, taking a share of first place in the MIAA.
Southern (15-3, 7-3 MIAA) moves into a four-way tie for first atop the MIAA with Northwest Missouri, Central Missouri, and Washburn.
Jason Adams scored 31 points on 11-21 shooting and moved into third place on the all-time scoring list with 1,777 career points, passing John Thomas (1969-73). He sits just 124 points from moving into second place all time and passing Carl Tyler (1980-84).
Marquis Addison had 17 points in the game after having just two points at the half. Jordan Talbert scored 12 points and added six rebounds, while Christian Salecich added 10 points and four assists. Keane Thomann had nine points, the first time all season he has not reached double-digit points.
Northwest (13-3, 7-3 MIAA) had three score in double-figures, led by 21 points from Justin Clark. Kyle Haake and DeShaun Cooper scored 14 and 12 points, respectively.
Northwest scored the game's first six points, but the Lions came back and went on a 12-0 run and took a 12-6 lead after a three pointer form Salecich with 13:37 left in the first half. Southern led by eight (23-15) after a free-throw from Adams with just under ten minutes to go. A pair of free-throws from Adams pushed the Lions' lead to six at 34-28 with just under three minutes left in the half, but the Bearcats went on a 12-4 run including a bucket from Cooper as time expired to make the score 38-36, Lions at the half.
The Lions led by eight (58-50) after a layup from Addison with 12:46 in the second half, but Northwest went on a 13-5 run to tie the score at 63 with 7:29 left in the game. A jumper from Clark gave the Bearcats a one-point lead (65-64) with 7:20 left and after another tied score (67-67) with 5:36 left, a three from Adams the next trip down the court gave the Lions a lead they wouldn't relinquish.
The Lions shot 52 percent on the night, but were out rebounded 37-28. Southern forced 16 turnovers and scored 25 points off of the Bearcat miscues.
The Lions will be back in action on Saturday afternoon when Southern starts the second half of MIAA play with a matchup at Truman State.