Mankato, Minn. -- The 19th ranked Missouri Southern men's basketball team nearly overcame a 21-point second-half deficit, but the comeback fell short and the Lions fell 94-84 to the 20th ranked Central Missouri Mules in semi-final action of the NCAA Division II Central Regional today inside the Taylor Center.
Southern (25-5) was led in scoring by 28 points from Marquis Addison as the senior went 9-9 from the free-throw line and moved in front of Skyler Bowlin for fifth-place all-time on the MSSU scoring list. He finishes his career with 1,667 points, 490 rebounds, 223 steals and 297 assists. His .836 career free-throw percentage is second-best all time and he ranks fourth in career steals with 223.
Jordan Talbert finished with 16 points on the night on 3-5 shooting, 2-3 from long-range and 8-11 from the free-throw line. He added 11 rebounds. Talbert finishes his career as one of only three players in MSSU history ((John Thomas and Chris Tucker) with 1,000 points and 700 rebounds as he ends his Southern career with 1,057 points, 731 rebounds and 170 blocks. His 170 blocks ranks second-best all-time, while his rebound totals rank third-best and he has two of the top-five all-time single-season block totals.
Slim Magee scored ten points and pulled down four rebounds on 5-5 shooting from the field. Magee finishes his career with the top single-season block mark at MSSU with 65, while his .670 field goal percentage this season ranks him top all-time on the single-season list.
Central (25-5) had five score in double-figures led by 21 points from Dillon Deck, 18 from TJ White and 17 from Charles Hammork.
Both teams traded baskets early on and Central had an 8-7 lead after the first media timeout. The Central lead reached five (12-7) after a jumper from Robinson at the 14:54 mark and a three from Kyle Wolf made the score 17-7 with just under 13 minutes to play in the half. A driving layup from Addision the next trip down, stopped the Mules' run, but Central led 21-11 at the next media timeout.
A three-pointer from Talbert with 8:32 left cut the lead to 11 (25-14), and back-to-back three's for the Lions from Blaine Miller and Addison cut the lead to nine (31-22) with 6:09 left to play. A three from Talbert with 5:15 to go made the score 31-25 and a pair of free-throws from the Mules' TJ White stopped the Lions' run at 14-6 and made the score 33-25 with just under five minutes to play in the half. Central would close the half on a 12-8 run to lead 45-33 at the break.
Talbert and Addison had nine points each at the break and the Lions had seven blocks as a team.
The Lions got to within 11 (55-44) after a layup from Addison with 13:59 left in the second half, but Central went on a 11-2 run and opened up a 65-46 lead with 11:33 left. The Central Missouri lead was 21 (71-50) at the 9:52 mark, but the Lions went on a 14-4 run and cut the lead to ten (75-65) and forced a Mules timeout.
A layup from Magee with just under five to go cut the Mules' lead to eight (77-69) and a three-point play from Addison with 4:04 to go cut the lead to five (77-72). The Mules' lead was 79-74 pushing the Lions' run to 24-8 over a 6:23 stretch, but that would be as close as the Lions would get.
The Lions shot 44 percent from the field and the three-point line and 84 from the charity stripe. Southern had a 33-31 advantage on the boards, but Central held a 36-14 advantage in the paint and a 37-13 advantage in bench points.
The Lions finish the season as one of the best-shooting teams in the history of the program. The team set the single-season mark for both field goal percentage (.510), as well as three-point field goal percentage (.413), besting the marks of .506 from the field in 1980-81 and .391 from long-range in 1988-89.
Austin Wright finishes the regular-season with the best-ever three-point shooting performance from an individual as the sophomore shot .493 from beyond the arc this season, besting the previous mark of .471 set by Caleb Engleken in 2002-03.
Robert Corn ends his illustrious career on the sidelines at Missouri Southern with the most wins ever by a coach at the school (413). He has the fourth-most wins amongst coaches in MIAA history and led the Lions to 16-straight trips to the MIAA Tournament, 21 overall, and this season was named the MIAA Coach of the Year, his fourth overall, after picking up the ninth 20-win season in his career at Southern.