Emporia, Kan. -- The Missouri Southern men's basketball team went 30-32 from the free-throw line and Cameron Cornelius paced the Lions with 22 points as Southern led from start to finish in an 89-60 win at Emporia State today.
Southern (9-1, 3-0 MIAA) wins its seventh in a row and sixth game in the last eight meetings with the Hornets. It is the second win in a row in Emporia as the Lions have won four of the last seven in White Auditorium.
The Lions were led in scoring by Cornelius' career-high 22 points on 7-11 from the field and 8-9 from the charity stripe. Jordan Talbert scored 16 points on 5-9 from the field, 2-3 from long range and 4-4 from the free-throw line. He also added seven rebounds. Stephen Atkinson scored ten points off the bench, as the Southern reserves outscored the Hornets' 33-5 today.
ESU (8-5, 1-2 MIAA) had two score in double-figures led by 27 points from Terrence Moore. Paul Bunch had a double-double with 13 points and 12 rebounds.
The Lions opened up a 7-4 lead early on after a three pointer from Addison with 15:53 left to go in the first half. The lead was ten (19-9) after a jumper from Cornelius with just under 11 minutes left and another three from Addison, this time with 4:42 left, gave Southern a 32-21 lead. A pair of free-throws from Atkinson gave the Lions a 15-point lead (40-25) with just under two minutes to go and a fast-break dunk from Cornelius as the half ended, gave the Lions a 46-27 lead going into the locker room.
Cornelius had 14 points at the half to lead all scorers.
A free-throw from Talbert two minutes into the second half gave the Lions a 22-point lead at 52-30, but Emporia would not go away that easy. An 8-0 run by the Hornets capped by a layup from Bunch cut the Lions' lead to 14 (52-38) and forced a Missouri Southern timeout.
The Lions responded and led by 22 again (62-40) after a free-throw from Addison with 12:30 left to go. The lead for the Lions reached 23 (72-49) after a pair of freebies from Talbert with 8:20 left and the Lions' lead reached 26 (78-52) after a pair of free-throws from Randy Clark with 5:48 left. A late three from Blaine Miller provided the final score.
In the last two meetings with Emporia, the Lions have gone 60-64 (.937) from the free-throw line against the Hornets. Southern led by 19 at the break and out-scored ESU by ten in the second half. The Lions shot 47 percent from the field and 46 percent from long-range, while making 94 percent of their free-throws.
The Lions will be off for Christmas break but Southern will return to action on January 4th, as the Lions play host to Fort Hays State at 3 pm inside the Leggett & Platt Athletic Center.