January 9, 2010

Dominating performance lifts Lions over Washburn 86-69

Topeka, Kan. - A pair of career highs from both Patrick Hester and TJ Williams helped lift the Missouri Southern basketball team over Washburn 86-69 tonight at Lee Arena in Topeka.

Southern (9-5, 3-4 MIAA) completes the double-header sweep in Topeka for just second time in the last 30 years, the other time being in the 2007-08 season. The Southern women defeated the sixth ranked and previously undefeated Lady Blues 70-65 earlier in the night.

Hester scored a career high 16 points on 5-7 shooting from the field, while Williams scored his career-high of 12 points on 3-3 from the field and 6-7 from the charity stripe. Jason Adams had 14 points and a career-high 13 rebounds for his second-straight double-double, while DaRell Crittendon and Keane Thomann had 11 points each.

Washburn (7-8, 1-7 MIAA) was led by William McNeil with 18 points on 6-13 shooting from the field. Nate Daniels and D'Andre Washington had 11 and 10 points, respectively.

Washburn scored the game's first six points and led 12-9 after a layup from Daniels with 15 minutes left in the first half, but a three-point play from Williams tied the game at 12 a minute later. After a bucket from the Ichabods' Anthony Nocito gave Washburn a two-point lead, a three from Crittendon gave the Lions a lead they wouldn't relinquish.

From that point on, the Lions went on a 10-0 run to push the lead to 25-15 at the nine minute mark and led by 13 after a pair of freebies from Hester gave Southern a 40-27 lead with two minutes left. A three from Hester as time expired made the halftime score 45-32.

Southern pushed its lead to 23 (60-37) after a pair of free-throws from Skyler Bowlin at the 14 minute mark of the second half. The lead was the highest of the game at 28 (67-39) after a layup from Chris Scruggs with just under 12 minutes left. A late push from Washburn cut the final deficit to 17 (86-69).

The Lions out rebounded Washburn 37-34 on the night, and Southern forced 16 Washburn turnovers, scoring 18 points off the Ichabod miscues. Southern shot 49 percent from the field and 82 percent from the free-throw line.

The Lions will be back in action on Monday night when Southern travels to Fort Hays for a 7:30 pm matchup. The Tigers are one of the hottest teams in Division II, having already knocked off No. 1 Central Missouri and No. 11 Southwest Baptist this week alone and will come into the game with a 13-1 overall mark and a perfect 7-0 mark in league play.