Joplin, Mo. -- The Missouri Southern men's basketball team sent its two seniors (DaRell Crittendon and Mariun Price) out with a huge win tonight as the Lions defeated 12th ranked Fort Hays State 76-57 today on Senior Day at the Leggett & Platt Athletic Center.
Southern (16-9, 10-8 MIAA) was led in scoring by 20 points from Skyler Bowlin as the junior hit 5-10 from long range and 7-14 from the field. Price scored 18 on 7-13 shooting and Jason Adams added 12 points and nine rebounds. Keane Thomann had eight points and nine boards. Crittendon scored nine and pulled down nine rebounds in his final home game at Southern.
Hays (20-5, 14-4 MIAA) was led in scoring by 14 points from Orrin Greer off the bench. Dominique Jones and Corbin Kuntzsch scored 12 points each.
Both teams traded buckets in the first half before a layup from Crittendon made the score 22-21 Lions with 10:29 left in the first half. Jumpers from Patrick Hester and Thomann gave the Lions a five point lead and a a three point play from Price gave Southern its largest lead of the half (seven) 29-22 with just under eight minutes to go.
Hays fought back and took a one-point lead (35-34) after a layup from Kuntzsch with a minute and a half left to go and a pair of free-throws from Dominique Jones with under a second to go in the half, gave the Tigers a 37-36 lead at the break.
A jumper from Crittendon with 17:07 left in the second-half gave the Lions a 42-41 lead. Another bucket from Crittendon, this time with just over 15 left made the lead seven (50-43). A three from Bowlin with just under four minutes left made the Lions' lead 68-56 and a layup from Adams the next time down the floor increased Southern's lead to 14 with 3:32 left.
A pair of freebies and a layup from Adams pushed the Lions' lead to 18 (74-56) with 2:32 left in the game.
The Lions shot 52 percent from the field and 45 percent from long range, while limiting the Tigers to 35 percent from the field and 27 percent from beyond the arc. The lockdown on defense got more stingy in the second half, as the Lions held Fort Hays to just 25 percent from the field and eight percent from deep.
Southern will finish up the regular season with a pair of road games, traveling to Nebraska-Omaha on Thursday of next week and finishing up with Northwest Missouri on Saturday.