Springfield, Mo. - The Missouri Southern men's basketball team played a hard-fought exhibition opener tonight falling 93-80 to Missouri State at JQH Arena.
The Lions were led by 16 points from Cameron Cornelius and 14 from Marquis Addison. Lane Barlow chipped in 13 while Greg Renfroe and Jordan Talbert added 11 points apiece. Renfroe and Addison both finished with a team-high nine rebounds while Addison also had seven assists and five steals in the game.
With all five starters finishing in double figures, Cornelius led the way shooting 4-6 from the field, while going 6-8 from the free-throw line. Barlow and Renfroe also had solid shooting nights as each finished 5-9 from the field.
Missouri State was led by 17 points from Marcus Marshall while Gavin Thurman chipped in 12. Keith Pickens added 10 points and seven rebounds for the Bears.
Southern jumped out to an early 7-4 lead thanks to a three-pointer from Barlow, but the Bears responded a 14-5 run to take an 18-12 lead with 11:28 to go in the first half. The Lions answered back with a 9-3 run capped by a three-pointer from Addison to cut the Bears lead to 22-21. Missouri State countered the Lions run with an 8-1 run of their own to take their biggest lead of the first half at 30-22.
Southern would not allow the Bears to run away with the game hanging tough as they closed the gap to one at 34-33 with 3:14 to play in the first half thanks to an 11-4 run over a two-minute 29 second stretch which featured three pointers, including a pair from Talbert. MSU scored nine of the first half's final 14 points to take a 43-38 lead into halftime.
The Bears began the second half on a 12-6 run to increase their lead to 11 (55-44) and opened it up to as many as 19 (77-58) with 9:18 to play. Southern refused to go down lightly to the Division 1 Bears as they clawed their way back into the game with a 15-3 run over the next 2:49 to pull within seven (80-73) with 6:29 left in the game. That run included seven points from Addison, four from Renfroe and two each from Cornelius and Barlow.
Despite fighting to the final whistle, that was as close as the Lions got the rest of the game falling by a final of 93-80. Southern shot 38% (27-71) from the field while hitting 36.4% (8-22) from three-point range and 60% (18-30) from the free-throw line. The Lions would outscore the Bears 21-14 off turnovers while also outscoring MSU 20-14 off second chance points.
Southern finishes exhibition play at Arkansas on Friday at 7 p.m. at Bud Walton Arena.