Lions head to Vegas to take part in Division II Tipoff

Joplin, Mo. -- The Missouri Southern men's basketball team will open up the 2013-14 regular season this weekend with a pair of games at the Division II Tipoff in Las Vegas, Nev. 

The Lions will face-off with St. Mary's (Texas) in their opener on Friday night at 5 pm Joplin time, 3 pm local time. Southern will then face Eastern New Mexico at 7 pm Joplin time, 5 pm local time on Saturday evening. The games will be played at the Doolittle Community Center. 

Southern fared well in its two exhibitions this pre-season, losing 93-80 at Division I Missouri State and 99-82 at the University of Arkansas.

Senior guard Marquis Addison led the Lions in the pre-season, averaging 12.5 points, 6.5 rebounds, 4.0 steals and 5.5 assists. He shot a perfect 6-6 from the charity stripe. Junior guard Cameron Cornelius averaged 12.0 points and 2.5 rebounds, while sophomore forward Greg Renfroe averaged 11.0 points and 9.5 rebounds. Junior guard Lane Barlow averaged 11.0 points and 4.0 assists, while senior forward Jordan Talbert averaged 10.0 points, 5.0 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game. 

St. Mary's was 23-8 last season and 9-5 in the Heartland Conference, good enough for second in the league. The Ratlers were picked to finish second in the league's preseason poll this year, behind Arkansas-Fort Smith. They return two starters from last year's team in Christian Bower and Isiah Matthews.

Eastern New Mexico was 12-15 a season ago and defeated the Lions 81-61at the West Texas A&M Classic. The Greyhounds were 9-9 in the Lone Star Conference, good for seventh in the league standings. They were picked to finish sixth this year in the pre-season poll. 

After the Lions' games in Las Vegas, Southern will open up the home schedule with a 7 pm tip-off on November 19 against Arkansas-Fort Smith inside the Leggett & Platt Athletic Center.