Pittsburg, Kan. -- The sixth ranked Missouri Southern men's basketball team fell behind early and couldn't overcome the early deficit, falling 97-87 at Pittsburg State tonight in a Sonic Trophy Series game.
As it was in Southern's (11-2, 4-2 MIAA) only other loss this season, the long range shot killed the Lions tonight as Pitt shot 59 percent from behind the arc (10-17), while shooting 56 percent from the field. Southern had four players score in double-figures, led by a career-high 22 points from Christian Salecich. Keane Thomann and Jason Adams scored 18 points each, with Thomann adding nine rebounds. Marquis Addison scored 13 on 5-7 shooting from the field.
PSU (7-5, 3-3 MIAA) had five score in double-figures led by 28 points from Eric Ray. Ray was a perfect 4-4 from long range on the night.
Salecich started off the scoring with a three pointer to put the Lions up 3-0 early on. The game was tied at nine after a layup from Adams with 15:43 left in the first half. At that point, however, PSU went on a 21-6 run and led 30-17 with 9:36 left to go in the half. The Gorillas would continue the momentum into the halftime break, leading 51-37.
PSU led by as many as 18 in the second half when Ingram hit a three to make the score 70-52 with 10:55 left, but the Lions cut the lead to eight after a three-point play from Addison with 8:07 left making the score 73-65 Gorillas. Pitt extended the lead to 16 after a layup from McGee with 4:32 left, but a three from Salecich cut the lead to nine (89-80) with 2:24 left to play in the game.
A pair of free throws from PSU's Marky Nolen extended the Gorilla lead to 13 (93-80) with 1:50 left to play, but a three from Patrick Hester made the score 93-83 the next trip down the floor. That would be as close as the Lions would get.
Southern was out rebounded 35-21 on the night, 13-3 on the offensive boards. The Lions shot 60 percent from the field and 84 percent from the free-throw line, but couldn't overcome the hot shooting from beyond the arc of the Gorillas.
Southern will be back in action on Wednesday, Jan. 4 when the Lions will play host to Emporia State at 7:30 pm in the Leggett & Platt Athletic Center.