Jefferson City, Mo. -- The Missouri Southern men's basketball team closed out the first half on a 39-5 run and cruised to a 102-68 win at Lincoln today to close out the regular season.
Southern (21-5, 15-4 MIAA) finishes in third place in the MIAA and will open up the MIAA tournament at 8:15 pm on Friday, March 7 against the winner of the play-in game between Nebraska-Kearney and Lindenwood, played in Kearney on Tuesday.
The Lions had five score in double-figures led by 17 points from Austin Wright as he went 5-7 from long range and 6-8 from the field. Marquis Addison and Slim Magee both scored 16 points with Magee adding nine rebounds and three blocks and Addison adding six boards, two assists and two steals. Jordan Talbert scored 13 as he went over 1,000 points in his career and the senior now has 1,006 points. Lane Barlow scored 12 points and dished out seven assists.
Lincoln (3-24, 1-18 MIAA) had four score in double-figures led by 14 points from Josh Buie and 13 from James Edmond.
A bucket from the Blue Tigers' Jeremy Jackson cut the Missouri Southern lead to just one (19-18) at the ten minute mark of the first half. However, that was as close as Lincoln would get. The Lions went on a 15-0 run to open up a 16-point (34-18) lead after a three pointer from Blaine Miller with 6:33 left in the half. The lead would be 28 at the half after a pair of freebies from Barlow with just two second to go.
A layup from Buie cut the Lions' lead to 24 (63-39) with 16:53 left to go, but a three from Wright with 10:48 left in the game gave Southern a 77-46 lead. Lincoln cut the Southern lead to 21 (89-68) with 3:42 to go, but the Lions held the Blue Tigers scoreless for the remainder of the game and closed out the contest on a 13-0 run.
Southern shot 57 percent from the field in the game and 59 percent from long range hitting ten or more three's for its fourth-straight contest. The Lions outscored Lincoln 48-32 in the paint and the Southern bench outscored Lincoln 40-22. Southern had 21 assists on 37 made baskets and the Lions had a 47-33 advantage on the boards.
The Lions will stay at home to see who they play and Southern will be back in action on Friday, March 7 in the second round of the MIAA Tournament at Municipal Auditorium in Kansas City.