Kansas City, Mo. -- The eighth ranked Missouri Southern Basketball team posed a fierce comeback, but couldn't complete the rally and fell 89-83 to 19th ranked Fort Hays State today in the Championship Game of the 2011 MIAA Tournament at Municipal Auditorium.
Southern (25-4) will now await its fate on whether or not the team will host the NCAA Division II South Central Regional. The selection show is on NCAA.com at 9 pm and the Lions will host a watch party in the theater of the Biemdiek Student Center on Campus.
Central Oklahoma, the second ranked team in the region, won its championship game today over the third ranked team in the region, Tarleton State.
The Lions were led in scoring by Skyler Bowlin as the senior scored 22 and went a perfect 10-10 from the free-throw line. Keane Thomann had his fourth-straight game of 20 or more points with 20 today and he added seven rebounds. Marquis Addison had 11 points, while Jason Adams' streak of 55-straight games in double-figures came to an end with just nine points on the afternoon.
Hays (25-6) was led in scoring by Dominique Jones as he was named the Tournament MVP. He scored 30 points and added seven assists with no turnovers and added four steals. Dijon Smith scored 14 and pulled down 14 boards, while Corbin Kuntzsch added 18 points of his own.
The Lions jumped out to a 7-2 lead after a three from Addison just two minutes into the game, and led again by four (14-10) after a pair of free-throws from Chris Scruggs. Hays, however, tied the game at 16 and went ahead at 22-20 on a three pointer from Ben Congiusta at the 8:47 mark of the first half. The Tigers would lead from that point on.
Southern took what was an 18-point FHSU advantage at the seven minute mark of the second half and got as close as six twice, late in the second half.
The Lions shot just 37 percent on the night as Hays shot at a 52 percent clip. Southern out rebounded the Tigers 42-37 and had 16 offensive rebounds to the Tigers' nine.
The Lions will take on someone next weekend in the NCAA South Central Regional. They will, however, wait and see whom their opponent will be and where the games will be played at.