Las Vegas, Nev. -- Marquis Addison scored 24 points and the Missouri Southern men's basketball team turned a six-point halftime deficit into a seven-point win, defeating St. Mary's (Texas) in the season opener tonight at the Division II Tipoff.
The Lions (1-0) trailed 29-23 at the break, but Southern outscored the Ratlers (0-1) 38-25 in the second half.
Southern led 10-4 early on after a free-throw from Jordan Talbert, but St. Mary's went on a 7-2 run to take a 14-12 lead with 12:41 left in the first half. The Ratlers led by nine (24-15) at the 6:03 mark, but a three from Austin Wright cut the St. Mary's lead to just three (26-23) with just under two minutes to go in the half. The lead would be six (29-23) going into the locker room.
The Lions went on a 8-2 run to start the second half and tied the game at 31 on a layup from Matt Everson. The game was tied at 33, but St. Mary's would lead by five (41-36) after a layup from Justin Alexander.
A pair of free-throws from Talbert tied the score at 46 with 6:10 left in the game and two more freebies from Cameron Cornelius tied it again at 48. A three-point play by Cornelius the next trip down gave the Lions a 51-48 lead and Southern would hold on to the lead from there on out. Two free-throws from Addison with eight seconds left provided the final tally.
Addison had a game-high 24 points, while Talbert and Cornelius added 12 and 11 points, respectively. Addison went 9-14 from the field and 6-7 from the free-throw line, while adding four steals. Cornelius was 7-10 from the free-throw line, while Talbert added ten rebounds for a double-double.
The Lions forced 27 St. Mary's turnovers and scored 27 points off of the miscues, defeating a sweet 16 team from a year ago. Southern shot just 25 percent in the first half, but rebounded to shoot 54 percent in the second half.
Southern will conclude the tipoff tomorrow with a 7 pm (central time) tipoff against Eastern New Mexico.