Emporia, Kan. -- The Missouri Southern men's basketball team erased a ten-point halftime deficit and won 68-66 at Emporia State tonight in a first-round MIAA Tournament game. Southern will now move on to Kansas City to face Fort Hays at noon on Thursday in Municipal Auditorium.
Southern (13-14) trailed 44-34 at the break, and trailed by nine (52-43) after a three pointer from Emporia's (13-14) Gavin Brown with 14:32 left to go in the game.
The Lions, however, fought back and took a one-point lead (58-57) after a three pointer from Austin Wright with 7:53 left in the game. The two teams traded leads for the final seven minutes, before a pair of free throws from Stephen Atkinson with 31 seconds to go tied the game at 66.
That's where the game got really interesting. Marquis Addison stole the ball with 19 seconds left and the Lions called a timeout. Southern ran a play, but turned the ball over with four seconds to play. Emporia, however, turned the ball over before they could inbound when the Hornet player traveled on the baseline.
The Lions' inbounded the ball and Addison was fouled. He calmly made both freebies and a last-second shot for Emporia would not fall.
Jordan Talbert led all players with 16 pointsand seven rebounds, going 10-10 from the free-throw line. Addison had 15 points and 11 rebounds, going 9-10 from the charity stripe. Atkinson scored 11, while RJ Leverette added eight points.
The Lions shot 43 percent from the field and 88 percent from the free-throw line making 30-of-34 freebies. Southern had a 32-22 advantage of points in the paint, and held a 9-2 advantage in second-chance points. The Lions out-rebounded the Hornets 31-26.
Southern will now move on to Kansas City and face off with No. 1 seed Fort Hays State at noon on Thursday, March 7 inside Municipal Auditorium.
Fans wanting to purchase tickets can do so at the Lions' women's game against Northwest Missouri tomorrow evening.