Joplin, Mo. -- Keane Thomann had 23 points and a career-high 18 rebounds as the seventh-ranked Missouri Southern basketball team kept a pesky Southwest Baptist team at bay and defeated the Bearcats 92-77 tonight at the Leggett & Platt Athletic Center.
Southern (11-1, 4-1 MIAA) moves into first place in the MIAA standings all by themselves with the win. The Lions were led by Thomann's 23 and 18 as the senior went 8-14 from the field and made 7-11 from the free-throw line. Jason Adams scored 16 points and moved past Skyler Bowlin in the career points list to fourth. He now has 1,670 points and is 100 points from third place all-time.
SBU (6-7, 0-5 MIAA) was led in scoring by three Bearcats with 18 points each. Daveion Zellner, Ryan Dougherty and Kyle Sloan all scored 18.
The Lions trailed by as much as five after a three pointer from Sloan made the score 21-16 SBU with 10:20 left in the first half. Another three from Sloan, this time with 6:39 left in the half pushed the lead back to five after the Lions had come to within one. However, a 16-3 run from the Lions gave Southern an eight point lead with 2:39 to go after a three from Adams made the score 41-33. The Lions would take a 47-42 lead into the halftime break.
Southern had a 12 point lead (64-52) after a three-point play from Thomann, but the Bearcats cut the lead back down to five twice, the second time after a layup from Zellner made the score 74-69 with 5:54 left in the game. From that point it was all Lions, as Southern made eight of its final nine free-throws to put away the game.
The Lions shot 56 percent from the field and 82 percent from the free-throw line and out scored the Bearcats 40-22 in the paint. Southern scored 17 points off of 14 SBU turnovers.
The Lions will be back in action on December 30 when they travel to Pittburg to take on the Gorillas in a Sonic Trophy Series game. Tip off from Pittsburg will be 7:30 pm.