Joplin, Mo. -- The Missouri Southern men's basketball program will open up MIAA play this weekend when the Lions travel to Kirksville to take on Truman at 3 pm Saturday afternoon.
The Coaches: In his 24th season as head coach at Missouri Southern, Robert Corn has guided the Lions to 19 Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association Postseason Tournament berths (14 straight) and four trips to the NCAA Division II Tournament. The 1999-00 Division II Bulletin National Coach of the Year, he holds a career record of 380-286 (.559) at Southern, and is the winningest head coach in Lions basketball history. A 1978 graduate of Southern, he has led Southern to eight 20-win seasons. His 1999-2000 team went 30-3 and advanced to the NCAA-II Elite Eight semifinals. Corn is fifth on the all-time MIAA wins list and third among active MIAA coaches. He is a three-time MIAA Coach of the Year winner, including a unanimous selection in 2010-11.
Matt Woodley is in his second season at Truman. In his first season, Woodley guided the Bulldogs to an 8-20 record and an eighth-place finish in the MIAA. The Bulldogs lost out on a tiebreak for the No. 8 spot but won six home games, including a 4-6 mark in conference games. He also coached freshman guard Seth Jackson to MIAA Freshman of the Year honors. A three-year starter at Drake University, He twice earned honorable mention honors from the Missouri Valley Conference.
The Lions last time out (5-3, 0-0 MIAA): Missouri Southern sophomore forward Stephen Atkinson scored a career high in points, rebounds and the Lions defeated Central Bible 69-39 tonight at the Leggett & Platt Athletic Center. Southern (5-3) raced out to a 28-8 lead early on after a layup from Atkinson was part of eight straight points from the sophomore. The lead would be 40-18 at the halftime break. CBC (3-9) shot 26 percent from the field in the first half and the Spartans were led in scoring by three players with eight points each. The Lions' lead reached 30 (55-25) after a layup from Greg Renfroe with 14:39 left. The lead would reach 30 twice more with the final tally being the last time. The Lions were led in scoring from Atkinson's 20 points on 8-15 shooting from the field and 2-3 from long range. He had seven rebounds, as well. Marquis Addison had ten points on 4-7 shooting, while Bryan Adams added a career-high eight rebounds. Southern shot 51 percent from the field in the game and 50 percent from long range. The Lions out scored the Spartans 36-14 in the paint and scored 29 points off of 23 CBC turnovers. -14 advantage in the paint and scored 21 points off of 16 ATU turnovers.
The Bulldogs Last time out (3-3, 1-0 MIAA): Four Truman men's basketball players scored in double-figures, as a complete team effort sent the Bulldogs to 1-0 in the MIAA after a 71-69 conference-opening road win at Missouri Western on Wednesday night at the MWSU Fieldhouse. Mike Carlson (Superior, Wis., Marshall) led all players with 19 points, while Isaac Gardner (Washington, Iowa, Washington) and Tom Norton (Bloomington, Ill., Central Catholic) combined for six triples and 23 total points off the bench to even Truman's record at 3-3 overall on the season. Cory Myers (Ankeny, Iowa, Ankeny) finished with 10 points and a team-high six assists, with Cole Myers (Ankeny, Iowa, Ankeny) drilling a clutch three-pointer with just 26 seconds to play en route to nine points on the evening.The win marked the first time Truman has been 1-0 in league play in six seasons, as the Bulldogs pummeled the Griffon zone defense to the tune of 37 three-point attempts out of 56 total field goal attempts from the floor. Truman would hit a dozen long-range shots on the night, ending the evening having shot 38% overall and 32% from distance, with a 17-for-24 mark (71%) from the charity stripe.
Series History: Southern leads the series against Truman 27-17. Southern is in the midst of a ten-game winning streak against Truman. The Bulldogs won five in a row from 05-07.Last season, Southern tied a school record for fewest points allowed against an MIAA opponent (43), while setting a record for margin of victory (46) against an MIAA opponent. The Lions are 14-6 in Joplin, while 12-10 in Kirksville. The teams have split a set of games in Springfield at a nuetral site. Southern had won eight games in a row starting in 2000, but the Bulldogs ran off seven wins in eight games from 2003 through 2007.