Joplin, Mo. -- The Missouri Southern men's basketball team will play host to Central Oklahoma Thursday evening in the home finale for the Lions. Tipoff for the game will be 7:30 pm from the Leggett & Platt Athletic Center.
The Lions' Last Time Out (11-12, 6-9 MIAA): The Missouri Southern men's basketball team led by 15 with five minutes to go in the first half, but Emporia State came back and outscored the Lions 38-26 in the second half en route to a 69-66 win at the Leggett & Platt Athletic Center.Southern (11-12, 6-9 MIAA) had both Austin Wright and Greg Renfroe score ten points each in the game. Stephen Atkinson and Marquis Addison scored nine points each. The Lions jumped out to an 11-3 lead with 16:35 left after the second three pointer from Talbert to start the game. The lead was ten (22-12) after a pair of freebies from Atkinson with 9:59 left in the first half. The Lions led by 15 (35-20) after a three from Miller with 5:25 left, but a 9-5 run from the Hornets to end the half made the score 40-31 going into the half. Emporia started the second half on a 15-7 run and took a 48-47 lead after a layup from Paul Bunch. The ESU lead was four (55-51) after a layup from Bunch, but the Lions would re-take the lead as a layup from Wright made the score 61-60 with 6:42 left. The game was tied at 64 after a pair of free-throws from Bunch and the Hornets took the lead for good after a pair of freebies from Wright with two minutes left.
UCO's Last Time Out (11-11, 9-5 MIAA): Cal Andrews drained a buzzer-beating 3-pointer to give Central Oklahoma the halftime lead and the Bronchos continued their long-distance assault in the second half to run away from Emporia State 83-69 Wednesday night at Hamilton Field House. It was the fourth straight Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association win for UCO, which evened its overall record at 11-11 while improving to 9-5 in the league to stay just a game behind Central Missouri and Fort Hays State in the crowded league standings.The Bronchos shot a blistering 62.5 percent (10-of-16) from long range in the second half and ended up making 14-of-29 treys (48.3 percent) for the game. UCO shot 51.0 percent (25-of-49) overall and also committed just 10 turnovers.
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 385-295 (.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.
Now in his 11th year at the helm of the Central Oklahoma men's program is Terry Evans, a former college standout who has built the Bronchos into a perennial NCAA Division II power.Evans is 208-90 in 10 years at UCO and has directed the Bronchos to seven national tournament appearances, including one Elite Eight and one Sweet 16. He also led the team to six Lone Star Conference North Division titles and two overall league crowns during Central's association with that league.
The Series: This is a short series between the Lions and the Bronchos as Central Oklahoma has a 3-1 advantage in the all-time series. The Lions lost the first game of the series at home on 11-23-73 to then Central State University as UCO was known. Southern then won a game against the Bronchos in the Pittsburg State Tournament in 1991 and UCO has won the last two in a row. One of them being in a regional in 1993 and the other being at Missouri Southern. Southern is 0-2 at home 0-1 on the road and 1-0 in neurtral site games.