Lions stay perfect with 68-65 win over Eastern New Mexico

Las Vegas, Nev. -- Senior forward Jordan Talbert carved out his second-straight double-double and the Missouri Southern basketball team stayed perfect with a 68-65 win over Eastern New Mexico tonight in the Division II Tipoff in Las Vegas. 

Southern (2-0) was led by Talbert's 14 points and 13 rebounds as the senior played in 36 minutes of action. Cameron Cornelius scored a team-high 15 points and added seven rebounds, while Lane Barlow scored 13 and Greg Renfroe had nine rebounds. 

Eastern (0-1) was led in scoring by 25 points from Rodney Blackmon. Rafael Love and Dennis Hardwell had seven points each. 

A layup from Cornelius at the 15:45 mark of the first half gave the Lions an 8-6 lead early on. A bucket from Slim Magee the next trip down gave the Lions a lead they would hold on to for the next six minutes. A bucket from the Greyhounds' Cornelius Cammock gave ENMU a 19-18 lead and a layup from Hardwell increased the lead to three (21-18) with 7:11 left to play in the half. 

The Lions re-took the lead on a layup from Magee to go up 22-21 and they would hold that lead for the rest of the half going into the locker room up 33-25. 

Southern's lead reached 11 (39-28) after a three from Barlow a minute into the second half and it would be the largest at 12 after a bucket from Devin Spencer made the score 46-34 with 15:23 left in the second half. 

Eastern would fight back and tie the game twice before taking a five-point lead at the five minute mark on a three from Blackmon. From then, the Lions went to work. Southern tied the game at 60 and went ahead at 61-60 on a pair of free-throws from Talbert at the three-minute mark. 

The Lions would lead by five (65-60) after another Talbert freebie. A three-pointer from Blackmon with 20 seconds left tied the game at 65, but the Lions made 3-4 free-throws down the stretch between Barlow and Matt Everson to take the game. 

Southern shot 43.1 percent from the field and held a 46-37 advantage on the board. They outscored ENMU 40-16 in the paint and had a 12-2 advantage in fast-break points. 

The Lions will be back in action at home on November 19 when Southern plays host to Arkansas-Fort Smith at 7 pm from the Leggett & Platt Athletic Center.