Joplin, Mo. -- The eighth ranked Missouri Southern men's basketball team won its second MIAA Regular Season Title tonight, the first since 1999-2000, as the Lions defeated Nebraska-Omaha, 92-78 in front of more than 2,200 fans in the Leggett & Platt Athletic Center.
Southern (22-3, 18-3 MIAA) moved up to No. 1 in the NCAA South Central Regional rankings tonight, as well, as Central Oklahoma, last week's No. 1, moved down to No. 3.
The Lions were led in scoring tonight by Jason Adams as the junior scored 29 points and had six rebounds, going 11-16 from the field and 4-8 from long-range. Keane Thomann had 22 points and 12 rebounds, while Skyler Bowlin scored 21 and dished out 10 assists. Bowlin went 7-12 from the field and 4-9 from long-range, while Thomann was 10-13 from the field.
UNO (17-8, 14-7 MIAA) was led in scoring by 16 points from Tyler Bullock. Torrian Harris scored 15, while Mitch Albers chipped in 12.
Southern opened up a 17-10 lead just four and a half minutes into the game, forcing a UNO timeout. The lead was eight (28-20) after a three pointer from Bowlin with 9:27 left. The Lions pushed the lead to ten (36-26) after a free throw from Marquis Addison with 5:30 left. A three pointer from the Mavericks' Jeff Martin, however, cut the lead to five (44-39) at the half.
A layup from Bullock with 16:43 left in the second half cut the deficit to two at 49-47, but that's as close as the Mavs would get. The Lions' lead was 12 (68-56) just five minutes later after a fast break layup from Adams and was up to 14 (80-66) after another fast break bucket from Adams with 5:38 to go. The Southern lead reached its peak (17) after another bucket from Adams, but a three from Martin the next trip down the court made the final deficit 14.
The Lions shot 56 percent from the field and 45 percent from long range on the night, draining nine three's in the process. Southern forced 13 UNO turnovers, scoring 16 points off of the miscues.
The Lions will finish off the regular season with senior day this Saturday afternoon when Southern welcomes in Northwest Missouri for the season finale. Tip off from the Leggett & Platt Athletic Center is slated for 3 pm.