January 25, 2013

Southern men look to stop streak and play host to Northeastern State Saturday

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Joplin, Mo. -- The Missouri Southern men's basketball team will look to get back in the win column tomorrow as the Lions play host to Northeastern State in MIAA action. Tipoff for the game will be 3:30 pm from the Leggett & Platt Athletic Center. 

The Lions Last Time Out (9-6, 4-4 MIAA): Sophomore guard RJ Leverette scored a career-high 22 points, but an early second-half run from Emporia State helped the Hornets over the Lions 76-62 in Emporia tonight. Southern (9-7, 4-4 MIAA) was led by Leverette's 22 points as he went 8-9 from the field and 6-7 from long-range, a career high in three's for the sophomore. Marquis Addison scored 16 points and added three assists and five rebounds. The Hornets started the game on an 8-2 run, after a layup from Paul Bunch with 17:18 left in the first. The Lions cut the lead to four (12-8) after a three pointer from Leverette with 14:59 left. A free-throw from Matt Everson with 9:42 left made the score 21-18, Emporia, and after the Hornets pushed their lead to 36-28, Southern finished the half on a 6-0 run to go into the locker room down 36-34 at the half. Emporia started the second half strong and quickly opened up a 12 point lead (46-34) after a three from Terrance Moore. The lead was 14 after a pair of free-throws from Sights made the score 58-44 with 9:18 left. A three from Wright made the ESU lead 20 (75-55) with just under two minutes left to go, and a 7-1 run by the Lions to close the game provided the final score. 

NSU's Last Time Out (13-4, 6-3 MIAA): The Northeastern State men's basketball team defeated Pittsburg State 64-62 Wednesday night inside Jack Dobbins Field House. The RiverHawks (13-4, 6-3 MIAA) picked up their third-straight win, while the Gorillas (12-5, 5-4 MIAA) have now lost three of their last four. NSU was led by junior guard Bryton Hobbs, who scored 23 points and tied his career high with four steals in 38 minutes. He also hit the game-winning jumper with 6.6 seconds remaining in the contest. Senior forward Jermaine Bransford recorded 19 points and 11 rebounds, and senior guard Ethan Anderson added 13 points. 

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 384-288 (.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. 

Larry Gipson has led Northeastern State to an NCAA Division II national championship, four NCAA Tournament appearances and five Lone Star Conference North Division titles in 12 seasons. His 245 wins is second-best behind legendary coach Jack Dobbins (314 wins), but his winning percentage (.621) is by far the best in school history. His NSU record is 245-179 as he enters his 16th season. Gipson was named the 2003 Division II Coach of the Year by the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC), earned the Molten/Division II Bulletin Coach of the Year award and was a coach at the USA Basketball Trials in the summer of 2003.

The Series: Southern has won five out of the last seven meetings between the two schools and holds an overall record of 17-14 against the RiverHawksThe Lions' 77-69 overtime win at home in 2006 stopped a three game losing streak to the Riverhawks. Southern had won just once in Tahlequah, but the Lions picked up a win at Jack Dobbins Fieldhouse last season. The Lions are 13-3 at home, 2-11 on the road and 2-0 in a neutral site against the Riverhawks.