Emporia, Kan. -- After trailing by as many as six with under eight minutes to go in the game, the No. 19 Missouri Southern men's basketball team closed the game out on a 16-6 run to take out Emporia State on the road tonight.
With the win, Southern (20-5, 12-5 MIAA) wins its 20th game for the 15th time in the program's history and the eighth time in coach Robert Corn's tenure.
The Lions were led in scoring by Keane Thomann as the big man poured in 28 points and pulled down 14 rebounds for his ninth double-double of the season. Jason Adams scored 14 points and added seven rebounds.
Emporia (8-14, 4-12 MIAA) had three score in double figures led by 17 points from Antonio DiMaria.
Both teams traded leads in the first half, before the Lions broke open a seven-point advantage (20-13) on a jumper from Thomann with 10:38 to go in the half. The lead was nine (26-17) after a pair of free-throws from Adams with 7:18 left, but a 5-0 run by the Hornets made the score 36-33 at the half.
The Lions led by nine (42-33) early on in the second half after a free-throw from Thomann with 18:21 to go in the game. But Southern went cold and the Lions were scoreless for the next six minutes as Emporia got back into the game and a pair of free-throws from Tola Lawal with 11:25 to go gave ESU a 45-44 lead. Emporia led by as many as six with 7:58 to go in the game before the Lions closed the game on a 16-6 run and put it away.
Southern shot its lowest field goal percentage of the season tonight (35.6), but defnesively held the Hornets to just 32 percent shooting, including 28 in the second half. The Lions out rebounded ESU 41-38 and held a 28-16 advantage in the paint.
Southern will be back home on Wednesday evening for a pivotal matchup with Washburn at the Leggett & Platt Athletic Center. The Ichabods sit a half game in front of the Lions in the standings in second place. Tip off is slated for 7:30 pm.