Joplin, Mo. -- The 16th ranked Missouri Southern men's basketball team played its third-straight overtime game at home and just like the previous two, came away with a win as the Lions took out Fort Hays, 80-73 today in double-overtime at the Leggett & Platt Athletic Center.
Southern (22-5, 14-5 MIAA) is now just a half game out of first place in the MIAA as Central Missouri defeated Northwest Missouri today in Maryville.
Keane Thomann led all scorers with 28 points on 11-25 shooting from the field and 6-8 from the free-throw line. Jason Adams scored 22 points and had 11 rebounds and seven assists as he moved into second-place all-time on the scoring list at Southern. The senior now has 1,919 points, passing Carl Tyler to move into second.
Hays (16-8, 10-8 MIAA) had four score in double figures led by 19 points from Kendrick Morse and 17 from Karron McKenzie.
The Tigers started the game on an 11-1 run, but Southern answered right back with a 13-3 run to tie the game at 14 with 10:55 left after a layup from Adams. Southern trailed 29-27 as time was expiring in the first half, but a three from Christian Salecich as the buzzer sounded gave the Lions a 30-29 lead at the break.
Hays led by as many as 11 points in the second half and led by ten (59-49) with 6:11 left to go in regulation. The Lions, however, closed on a 10-0 run to end the half and force overtime, capped off by a layup from Thomann with 37 seconds to go.
Neither team scored in the first 2:12 of overtime as Hays went nearly nine minutes without a point, but the Tigers got a pair of free-throws from Morse to start the scoring. The Lions led 64-61 after a couple of free-throws from Adams with 21 seconds left, but the Tigers' Lance Russell hit a three with 12 seconds left to force double-overtime.
A layup from Adams with 2:27 left in the second overtime gave Southern a 70-68 lead. The Lions led 78-70 after a free-throw from Marquis Addison and a pair of free-throws from Jordan Talbert with 14 seconds left secured the win for Southern.
The Lions out rebounded Hays 54-37, including 18 offensive boards. Southern only shot 39 percent from the field, but made 81 percent of its free-throws and the Lions' bench out scored the Tigers' 18-8.
Southern will have Wednesday off, but will travel to Northwest Missouri a week from today for what could be a decisive game for the No. 1 seed in the MIAA Tournament.