Joplin, Mo. -- The Missouri Southern men's basketball team will head back home and renew its longest rivalry as the Lions play host to Pittsburg State in a Sonic Trophy Series matchup on Wednesday night at the Leggett & Platt Athletic Center.
The Lions Last Time Out (8-5, 3-2 MIAA): Freshman Austin Wright had six three pointers and led the Lions with 24 points off the bench as the Missouri Southern Basketball team took out Lincoln 99-80 today in Jefferson City. Southern (8-5, 3-2 MIAA) led from start to finish in the game, but the Blue Tigers (2-14, 1-5 MIAA) got to as close as two (18-16) after a free-throw from Cedric Ridle. The lead for the Lions was three (40-37) after a three from Lincoln and the Lions eventually went into the locker room with a four-point advantage, 47-43. It was the second half where the Lions poured it on. Southern started the half on a 7-0 run to quickly go up by 11 after a three from Wright made the score 54-43 with 18:08 left. The Lions led by nine (67-58) at the 11 minute mark of the second half, but Southern quickly increased its lead and went on a 13-1 run over the next minute and a half to go up by 21 after a pair of free-throws from Marquis Addison. The lead was as much as 23. Wright led all scorers with a career-high 24 points on 9-12 shooting and 6-8 from long range. Addison scored 20 points on 7-13 shooting as he was a perfect 6-6 from the free-throw line. Jordan Talbert had a double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds.
The Gorillas Last Time Out (11-3, 4-2 MIAA): Kaleb Porter led four Pitt State players in double figures with 16 points, but that was not enough as the Gorillas fell by a score of 80-73 to Central Missouri Saturday (Jan. 12) at the UCM Multipurpose Building.The loss dropped Pitt State to 11-3 overall and 4-2 in MIAA play while UCM moved to 10-3 overall and 4-1 in the MIAA. McGee and Rico Pierrevilus finished with 12 points each and Pierrevilus finished with a game-high 10 rebounds. Courtney Ingram rounded out the double-digit scorers for Pitt State with 10 points. Porter also finished with four assists, four rebounds and two steals.
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 383-288 (.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.
Pittsburg State's Kevin Muff is in his third season leading the Gorillas. Muff became the Gorillas' 14th all-time head coach on Apr. 5, 2010, after spending 12 seasons at Cloud County Community College, where he helped the Thunderbirds to an average of 21 wins in each of the last five seasons. He was 17-14 last season at PSU and is 43-30 overall as a collegiate head coach.
The Series: The Lions lead 47-43 in the all-time series with 17 wins in their last 29 tries vs. the Gorillas. The Lions and Gorillas have split the sereis past three seasons. The series now has some extra bragging rights as the two schools will be vying for the Sonic Trophy as part as the Sonic Trophy Series that pitts the two athletic departments against each other in a total points series. The Lions are 31-13 at home all-time vs. the Gorillas with wins in nine of the last 12 home meetings. Southern is 14-29 at Pittsburg. Fourteen of the last 24 games between the two border rivals have been decided by seven points or less.