Emporia, Kan. -- The Missouri Southern men's basketball team dominated the final eight minutes of the game and overcame a slow start to win 73-60 at Emporia State tonight in White Auditorium.
Southern (10-1, 6-1 MIAA) held the Hornets to their second-lowest point output of the season and are tied with Fort Hays for first place in the MIAA as the Tigers defeated Central Missouri tonight.
The Lions were led offensively by Skyler Bowlin with 25 points on 4-8 from long range and 9-11 from the free-throw line. Jason Adams and Keane Thomann both threw down double-double's with Adams scoring 17 and pulling down 11 boards, while Thomann scored 16 with 10 rebounds.
ESU (8-5, 5-2 MIAA) had three in double-figures led by 13 points from Xavier Burnette.
The Hornets opened up an early 7-0 lead to start the game against the Lions, but a three from Adams and a jumper from Thomann cut the ESU lead to just two at the 15:27 mark. Southern got to within one (18-17) at the nine-minute mark after a basket from Patrick Hester, but the Hornets went on a 7-0 run before a pair of free-throws from Thomann stopped the run.
The ESU lead was eight (29-21) with 3:17 to go before the Lions went to work and a 9-0 run capped off with a three from Bowlin with 44 seconds left, giving the Lions a 30-29 lead. The Hornets, however, got a three on the next trip down and went into the locker room, up 32-30 at the break.
After trailing by as many as eight (40-32) in the second half, Southern fought back and went on a 16-4 run to lead 48-44 with 10:40 left, forcing an ESU timeout. A free-throw from ESU's Matt Boswell gave the Hornets a 49-48 lead with 8:52 left, but the Lions took the lead for good after a layup from Thomann gave Southern a 52-50 lead with 8:14 to go. The Lions' lead reached ten (67-57) after a pair of freebies from Bowlin with 2:24 to go and a dunk from Adams with 51 seconds left gave the Lions the 13-point win.
After shooting just 29 percent in the first half, Southern shot 61 percent in the second half. Coming into the game, the Lions were near the bottom of the MIAA in free-throw shooting, but the Lions were 20-22 from the charity stripe for a 90 percent clip. The Lions totally dominated Emporia in the paint tonight, out scoring the Hornets 34-18, but out rebounding ESU 45-21, including 16-4 on the offensive boards.
Southern will be back in action this Saturday as the Lions play host to Washburn at 3 pm in the Leggett & Platt Athletic Center.