Bolivar, Mo. -- The Missouri Southern men's basketball team made clutch free-throws down the stretch and the Lions defeated Southwest Baptist 96-94 tonight at the Meyer Sports Center in Bolivar.
Southern (15-3, 9-2 MIAA) had five score in double-figures led by 16 points from Jordan Talbert. He added seven rebounds, six assists and two steals. Lane Barlow scored 15 on 5-8 shooting in his return to SBU, adding eight assists and two steals. Slim Magee scored 15 points on 7-9 shooting and added nine boards, while Marquis Addison and Greg Renfroe scored 13 each. Renfroe added seven rebounds, while Austin Wright went 4-8 from long-range for 12 points on the night.
SBU (10-9, 3-7 MIAA) was led offensively by Desi Barmore with 22 points on 8-16 shooting. Preston Guiot and Menas Stephens scored 17 points each.
Barlow scored the game's first points on a three in the Lions' first possession. Another three from Barlow, this time with 17:33 left gave the Lions a 10-4 lead. A jumper from SBU's Tate Larsen made the score 12-11, Lions with 14:46 to go and the Lions led 20-15 with 11:38 left on a Matt Everson jumper. The Bearcats jumped ahead 23-20 after a jumper from Rashad Brown-Petersen with 9:28 left in the half, but a three-point play from Renfroe tied the score at 23 and back-to-back dunks from Renfroe and Talbert gave the Lions a 27-23 lead with 7:28 left.
Southern led 37-31 after a layup from Magee with 3:26 to go and another layup from Magee, this time with 1:16 left gave the Lions a 44-37 lead, but a 3-0 run for the Bearcats made the halftime score 44-40. Talbert scored ten in the half on 5-7 shooting and the Lions shot 57 percent from the field in the half.
The Lions opened a 52-44 lead after a three-point play from Cameron Cornelius with 17:48 left, but a 12-4 run from the Bearcats tied the game at 56 with 15:15 to go, forcing a Southern timeout. A jumper from Addison with 11 minutes left gave the Lions a 70-67 lead and a bucket from Renfroe the next trip down made the Lions' lead 72-67 with 10:28 left, forcing an SBU timeout.
SBU tied the game at 77 on a layup from Guiot with 7:38 on the clock, but a pair of freebies from Cornelius the next trip down gave the Lions the lead back at 79-77. Back-to-back layups from Magee made the Lions lead 88-81 with 3:19 left and forced an SBU timeout. After a quick 4-0 run by the Bearcats, back-to-back buckets from Magee again pushed Southern's lead to 92-85 with just under two to go. Free-throws from Magee, Barlow and Addison as time wound down sealed the win for the Lions.
The Lions shot 59 percent from the field in the game and 41 percent from long range. They enjoyed a 54-46 advantage in the paint and Southern's bench out scored SBU 32-21.
Southern will be back in action on Saturday when the Lions travel to Warrensburg to take on Central Missouri. Tip off from the Multipurpose Building is scheduled for 3:30 pm.