Joplin, Mo. -- The men's basketball team will head on the road this weekend as the Lions travel to Russellville, Ark. to take on the Wonderboys of Arkansas Tech University. Tipoff from Tucker Coliseum is slated for 6 pm.
The Coaches: In his 24th season as head coach at Missouri Southern, Robert Corn has guided the Lions to 19 Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association Postseason Tournament berths (14 straight) and four trips to the NCAA Division II Tournament. The 1999-00 Division II Bulletin National Coach of the Year, he holds a career record of 378-286 (.559) at Southern, and is the winningest head coach in Lions basketball history. A 1978 graduate of Southern, he has led Southern to eight 20-win seasons. His 1999-2000 team went 30-3 and advanced to the NCAA-II Elite Eight semifinals. Corn is fifth on the all-time MIAA wins list and third among active MIAA coaches. He is a three-time MIAA Coach of the Year winner, including a unanimous selection in 2010-11.
Entering his third season at Arkansas Tech, Doug Karleskint's Wonder Boys have two NCAA Tournament appearances to their credit, with the 2011-12 Wonder Boys advancing to the regional final. In his short tenure as the Wonder Boys head coach, the reigning Great American Conference Coach of the Year has a 53-14 has mentored three all-Gulf South Conference players, as Johnie Davis and Laithe Massey earned first team honors, and Jeremy Dunbar earned second team honors in 2010-11. Three earned All-GAC selections, and Davis was also named the GAC's inaugural Player of the Year, Second Team All-South Central Region, and an honorable mention All-American.
The Lions last time out (3-3): The Missouri Southern men's basketball team trailed by four at the half and went cold in the second half as the Lions lost 81-61 to Eastern New Mexico University today in the final game of the West Texas A&M Thanksgiving Tournament. Southern (3-3) was led in scoring by both Stephen Atkinson and Marquis Addison with 12 points each. Both players were perfect from the free-throw line for a combined 10-10 from the charity stripe. The Greyhounds held a 13-10 lead at the 12 minute mark of the first half after a three from Morgan Smith. Southern took a 16-15 lead after a pair of freebies from Atkinson at the eight minute mark and the game was tied at 22 after a three from ENMU's Love, but a bucket from Matt Everson with two minutes left gave the Lions a 27-26 lead. ENMU would go on a 6-1 lead to lead 32-28 at the half. The Lions got to within one (35-34) at the 17:21 mark of the second half after a bucket from Addison, and after a layup from Atkinson at the 16 minute mark made the score 41-36 ENMU, Southern got cold. The Lions went more than eight minutes without a field goal and the Greyhounds went on a 21-5 run to lead 62-41, before a layup from Blaine Miller at the eight minute mark stopped the Lions' drought.
The Wonderboys Last time out (2-2): Jared Williamson scored 22 points and added 5 rebounds, Bobby Hatchett added 12 points, and Willie Kirkland scored 11 points with 6 rebounds to lead the Arkansas Tech Wonder Boys to a 72-67 comeback victory over conference opponent Southern Nazarene.The two teams traded baskets over the first 5 minutes of the game. With the score tied 9-9 at the 15:20 mark of the first half, Southern Nazarene went on a 12-5 run to take a 7 point (21-14) lead with 10:46 to play in the half.The Wonder Boys rallied, pulling ahead 28-27 after a dunk by Charles Mells at the 6:34 mark, but SNU used a 7-0 run to take a 6 point (38-24) lead with 4:45 to play in the half. Southern Nazarene led by 7 (40-33) at the half.Southern Nazarene extended their lead to 12 (54-42) after Tyrone Lyons hit a pair of free throws at the 13:04 mark, but the Wonder Boys fought back using a 15-3 run to tie the game at 57-57 after a three-pointer by Tyler Friedel with 8:12 to play. Bobby Hatchett hit a layup with 6:19 to play that gave the Wonder Boys a lead that they would not relinquish, although Southern Nazarene was able to close the gap to one point with 16 seconds left. However, Hatchett and Kirkland both sunk a pair of free throws in the closing seconds to seal the Wonder Boys win.
The Series Between The Two Schools: Southern is 15-7 overall against Arkansas Tech. The two teams hooked up nearly every year in the early to mid 70's and then became a regular opponent in the Lions' Thanksgiving tournament from 1991-97. Southern last played ATU at the West Texas A&M Classic in 2004, losing 78-63. The Lions are 14-2 at home, 1-4 in Russellville and 0-1 in neutral locations.