Joplin, Mo. -- Junior guard Kelby Fritz set a new career high with 26 points, but it wasn't enough as the Missouri Southern Lions (5-6, 1-4 MIAA) fell to the visiting Southwest Baptist Bearcats (5-5, 1-4 MIAA) 63-56 Monday night in Joplin.
Junior forward Erin Rice added 19 points for the Lions as tried to comeback from an 11 point halftime deficit but came up short. Southern led for most of the first half until Brittney Dukes hit a three pointer to give SBU the lead for good at 16-14. The Bearcats would then go on a 14-0 run to open the lead to 27-14 with 3:37 left to play.
The second half was much of the same before the Lions would start chipping away at the lead to get it down to two points, 40-38, at the 6:50 mark on a three by Fritz. Southwest Baptist would then answer with a 10-2 run and lead by 10 points or more five times throughout the remaining 4:20.
Rice narrowly missed a double-double as she led all players with nine rebounds and the Bearcats out rebounded Southern 34-31 for the game.
Missouri Southern will be back in action December 30 as they travel to Pittsburg State for a 5:30 pm tilt in the Sonic Trophy Series between the two schools. The Lions and Gorillas are currently tied a 2-2 in the series with Southern winning the volleyball and men's cross country points in the fall and the Gorillas taking football and women's cross country.