Joplin, Mo. -- Despite leading by as many as 12 in the first half, the 14th ranked Lions fell at home tonight 81-68 to visiting Central Missouri at the Leggett & Platt Athletic Center.
Southern (16-4, 8-4 MIAA) was led in scoring by 24 points and eight rebounds from Keane Thomann as the senior went 8-14 from the field and 8-9 from the free-throw line. Marquis Addison scored 13 points, while Jason Adams and Jordan Talbert scored 12 each.
Central (13-4, 9-3 MIAA) had four score in double figures with 15 each from Lance Beckwith and Dominique Long, while Boo Hunter scored 14 and Matt Webb added 12.
The Lions rushed out to a 25-14 lead with 9:29 left in the first half after a layup from Thomann. They led by 12 (28-16) after a three-point play from Talbert with 8:49 left. Talbert had taken an alley-oop from Patrick Hester and dunked it home on the play. Another two free-throws from Talbert made the lead 12 with 7:46 left, but Central would storm back.
The Mules went on a 24-10 run over the next five minutes and took a two point lead (42-40) after a three pointer from Hunter. Both teams would trade baskets and the game was tied at the half at 44.
The game was tied at 58 and again at 64 in the second half, before the Mules took control. Central went on a 12-1 run after the second tie and led 77-65 with 48 seconds to go and a pair of free-throws from Beckwith made the final score 81-68.
Southern shot 44 percent from the field, but could only make 12.5 percent from long range. The Lions, however, did make 21-22 from the free-throw line. The Lions had a 40-32 advantage in the paint, but 22 turnovers did the Lions in.
Southern will be back at it this weekend as the Lions travel to Southwest Baptist for a matchup with the Bearcats.