Lions drop close decision at Pittsburg State, 67-66

Pittsburg, Kan. - In a matchup that saw six ties and 12 lead changes, the Missouri Southern Lions dropped a tough 67-66 decision to the Pittsburg State Gorillas Saturday evening (Jan. 2) at John Lance Arena in Pittsburg, Kan. The matchup is part of an on-going Sonic Trophy series that pits the two school's Athletic Departments going head-to-head throughout the sports season.

The Lions fell behind 63-56 at the 4:34 mark of the second half but made their way back to within three on a jumper by Kelby Fritz and a coast-to-coast layup from Jasmine Lovejoy.

After Nicole McCombs made a layup to put the Gorillas back up by five, Michelle Hedgecock answered for the Lions with a layup of her own to again make it a three-point game.

The Lions then got a much-needed stop on the defensive end and Kelby Fritz drew a foul and sank a pair of free throws to cut the Gorilla lead to just one with 1:17 left.

Southern then got another stop defensively but failed to take advantage with a bucket, which set up a jumper by DePrice Taylor for the Gorillas that made it 67-64 with just 34 seconds remaining.

Hedgecock again made it a one-point game with a layup with nine seconds left, meaning the Lions were forced to foul on the defensive end with four seconds left.

Laura Glenn missed the front end of a one-on-one for the Gorillas, but tracked down her own rebound and PSU dribbled the clock out to hang on for the victory.

The first half was close throughout and was even at 9-9 when LaTice Jones and Lovejoy scored consecutive buckets to put the Lions (8-4, 2-3 MIAA) up by four.

The Lions led 19-15 when Taylor and Glenn each hit two field-goals to lead an 8-0 spurt by the Gorillas (7-6, 5-1 MIAA) that put PSU up 23-19 with 5:38 left in the opening half.

Two threes from Erin Rice and one from Jolea Apon helped the Lions regain the lead at 28-25 at the 3:16 mark.

With the score even at 31-31, Aubrey Jones split a pair at the line to give the Gorillas a one-point lead at the half.

Lovejoy led the Lions with 15 points, while Apon, Jones and Rice each added 10. Rice, Danielle Harris and Lindsey Rujawitz each led the Lions with six rebounds.

Taylor produced a game-high 17 and McCombs scored 12 to lead the Gorillas.

The Lions will now gear up for a showdown with the current No. 9-ranked Emporia State Lady Hornets on Wednesday evening (Jan. 6) at 5:30 p.m. inside the Leggett & Platt Athletic Center.