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Joplin, Mo. -- The Missouri Southern men's basketball team will travel to Emporia, Kan. to take on the Hornets Monday night in a first-round MIAA Tournament game. Tip off from White Auditorium will take place at 7 pm.
The Lions' Last Time Out (13-13, 7-11 MIAA): The Missouri Southern basketball team couldn't overcome a four-point halftime deficit and fell 76-65 at Central Oklahoma tonight. The Lions will now play at Emporia State on Monday night in a first-round MIAA Tournament game. With Emporia State losing to Pittsburg State and Southwest Baptist losing to Missouri Western, the Lions secured the ninth seed and will face-off with eighth seed Emporia State at 7 pm on Monday. Southern (12-14, 7-11 MIAA) was led in scoring by 17 points off the bench from Matt Everson. He went 6-8 from the field and 3-4 from the three-point line, while making both of his free-throw attempts. Jordan Talbert scored 13 and pulled down nine rebounds, while Austin Wright scored 12. Central Oklahoma (13-13, 11-7 MIAA) had four score in double-figures led by 17 points from Josh Gibbs and 16 from Spencer Smith.The Lions started hot, leading 9-2 early on after a three pointer from Cameron Cornelius with 16:47 left in the first half. The Bronchos went ahead 10-9, but the Lions came back with another run and led 18-10 after a jumper from Everson with 12:08 left in the half. An 8-0 run from UCO tied the game again, and both teams would trade points before the Bronchos took the lead for good at 28-27 behind a pair of freebies from June Carter with 3:37 left. Central Oklahoma led 34-30 at the break and started the second half on a 11-1 run to lead by 14 (45-31) three minutes into the half.
The Hornets' Last Time Out (13-13, 8-10 MIAA): Emporia State gave up 45 second half points in an 82-55 loss at Pittsburg State on Saturday. However thanks to a win by Missouri Western over Southwest Baptist in Tom Smith's final home game in the MWSU Fieldhouse the Hornets will be hosting Missouri Southern on Monday. Tip-off from Slaymaker Court in White Auditorium is set for 7 p.m. The Hornets led 17-16 with 8:37 left in the first half when Pitt State went on an 8-0 run to take the lead for good. Emporia State trailed 37-29 at the half and opened the second period on a 17-4 run to take control of the game. The Hornets trailed by 18 at the under ten media timeout as they began to pull their starters and the Gorilla lead got to as many as 29 in the later moments of the second half. Kaleb Wright scored 16 points to lead Emporia State and was joined in double figures by Terrence Moore and Tre Boutilier with ten points each.
The Coaches: In his 24th season as head coach at Missouri Southern, Robert Corn has guided the Lions to 20 Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association Postseason Tournament berths (15 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 387-295 (.570) 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.
Shaun Vandiver is the 16th head men's basketball coach at Emporia State University and is in his second season with the Hornets. He was 9-18 last season at ESU and is 23-32 overall in his career. He spent the previous ten years as an assistant coach at the NCAA Division I level, most recently at Boise State University.
The Series: Missouri Southern holds a 45-30 advantage in the series with Emporia State. Southern has won 11 of the last 19 and four of the last five. The Lions have a 28-10 record against Emporia in Joplin, and are 16-20 in games played at Emporia. The Southern-Emporia series has produced eight overtime games, including two double overtime thrillers. The Lions have won six of the overtime games. Missouri Southern's biggest margin of victory was 43 points, 125-82, on Jan. 19, 2002. Emporia State's biggest victory spread was in 2007, (Jan. 17, 2007) defeating the Lions 105-67 (32 points).