Joplin, Mo. -- The Missouri Southern men's basketball team led by 15 with five minutes to go in the first half, but Emporia State came back and outscored the Lions 38-26 in the second half en route to a 69-66 win at the Leggett & Platt Athletic Center tonight.
Southern (11-12, 6-9 MIAA) had both Austin Wright and Greg Renfroe score ten points each in the game. Stephen Atkinson and Marquis Addison scored nine points each, while Jordan Talbert and Blaine Miller scored eight apiece.
Emporia State (11-11, 6-8 MIAA) had three score in double-figures led by 23 points from Kaleb Wright.
The Lions jumped out to an 11-3 lead with 16:35 left after the second three pointer from Talbert to start the game. The lead was ten (22-12) after a pair of freebies from Atkinson with 9:59 left in the first half. The Lions led by 15 (35-20) after a three from Miller with 5:25 left, but a 9-5 run from the Hornets to end the half made the score 40-31 going into the half.
Emporia started the second half on a 15-7 run and took a 48-47 lead after a layup from Paul Bunch. The ESU lead was four (55-51) after a layup from Bunch, but the Lions would re-take the lead as a layup from Wright made the score 61-60 with 6:42 left. The game was tied at 64 after a pair of free-throws from Bunch and the Hornets took the lead for good after a pair of freebies from Wright with two minutes left.
Southern shot 43 percent from the field and 74 percent from the free-throw line. The Hornets shot 55 percent from the field and 50 percent from long-range. The Lions hed a 35-10 advantage in bench points, but ESU had a 15-9 advantage in second chance points as they had 13 offensive rebounds to the Lions' eight.
The Lions will be back in action on Thursday night as Southern plays host to Central Oklahoma in the final home game of the season. Tip off from the Leggett & Platt Athletic Center is slated for 7:30 pm.