Southern (24-5) earns the MIAA’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament and will wait to see who and where they’ll play next week. The NCAA selection show will be streamed live tonight on NCAA.com at 9:30 pm and the Central Region Tournament will take place next Saturday through Tuesday at the No. 1 seed in the region.
Slim Magee was named the Tournament’s Most Outstanding Player after averaging 15.0 points and 10.7 rebounds, while shooting 83 percent from the field in the tournament. He scored 15 this afternoon with four blocks and nine rebounds.
Marquis Addison was also named to the All-Tournament Team after averaging 21 points and 4.7 rebounds. The senior scored 21 points on 8-16 shooting and added two assists with three rebounds. Cameron Cornelius and Austin Wright had nine points each, while Matt Everson and Greg Renfroe scored eight each.
Central Oklahoma (20-10) was led by 24 points and nine rebounds from Josh Gibbs. He was also named to the All-Tournament team along with Northeastern State’s Bryton Hobbs and Northwest Missouri’s Dillon Starzl.
Southern started out the game on fire, leading 10-2 after a three from Addison with 17:30 in the first. The two teams, however, would trade baskets throughout most of the first half with neither team having a lead of more than five. The game would be tied for the seventh time in the half, this time at 37 after a layup from the Bronchos’ Aaron Anderson with just over a minute to play. A three from UCO’s Seth Heckart as time expired, give the Bronchos a 40-39 lead going into the break.
The game was tied at 42 after a free-throw from Cornelius with 17:58 left in the second half, but the Lions would go on an 12-2 run to open up a ten point lead after a free-throw from Addison made the score 54-44 with 14:21 left to play. The lead was 16 (67-51) after a three from Blaine Miller with 9:25 to go and the lead would be as high as 17 (82-65) after a layup from Addison with 2:24 to play.
The Lions shot 57 percent from the field and 48 percent from long range, while making 71 percent of their free-throws. They out rebounded UCO 35-31 and the Southern bench had a 28-15 advantage. Ball distribution was key as the Lions assisted on 22 of 31 made baskets.
For the tournament, Southern shot 52 percent from the field, 42 percent from long-range and hit 72 percent of its free-throws.
The Lions will now sit back and wait to find out their opponent in next weekend’s regional tournament to be held at the No. 1 seed. Full regional tournament information regarding opponent and location will be released this evening and will be available on www.mssulions.com as soon as it comes available.