Joplin, Mo. -- The Missouri Southern basketball opened up a 40-26 lead at the half and the Lions took out MIAA-leading Northwest Missouri State, 82-68 tonight inside the Leggett & Platt Athletic Center.
With the win, Southern (16-5, 10-4 MIAA) clinches a spot in the MIAA Tournament. The Lions were led in scoring by 14 points each from Lane Barlow, Marquis Addison and Slim Magee. Matt Everson and Blaine Miller each scored ten as the Lions had five score in double-figures. Jordan Talbert had a team-high nine rebounds, while Addison added five assists and four steals.
Northwest (18-6, 13-2 MIAA) was held to its second-lowest scoring output of the season. DeShaun Cooper scored 22 points and Dillon Starzl scored 11.
The Lions started the game hot as a layup from Renfroe with 12:25 left in the first half capped a 9-2 run and put the Lions up 14-5. The Southern lead reached 14 (28-14) after a layup from Miller, part of a stretch where the sophomore scored five in a row. The lead for the Lions reached 18 (38-20) after a pair of free-throws from Renfroe with 1:40 left in the half and Southern went into the locker room up 40-26 at the break.
The Lions shot 53 percent from the field in the half and 67 percent from long-range, while holding a 24-10 advantage in the paint.
The Bearcats cut the MSSU lead to seven (43-36) after a free-throw from Starzl with 15:46 left, but a three from Austin Wright the next trip down the court pushed the Lions' lead back to double-digits. After a three from Northwest on its next possession, a three-point play from Barlow with 14:21 left pushed the Southern lead back to ten and it would stay in double-digits for the remainder of the game. The Lions led by as many 17 late after a three from Barlow with 19 seconds to go.
Southern shot 52 percent from the field in the game and 60 percent from beyond the arc. The Lions had a 40-24 advantage in the paint and 14 offensive boards led to 2 second-chance points.
Southern will be back in action on Saturday as the Lions travel to Missouri Western to take on the Griffons. Tip off from St. Joseph is slated for 3:30 pm.