Pittsburg, Kan. — The Missouri Southern men’s basketball team hung on and made free-throws down the stretch to defeat Pittsburg State 66-63 inside John Lance Arena in a State Farm Trophy Series matchup.
Southern (16-10, 10-7 MIAA) was led offensively by 17 points from Cameron Cornelius.Taevaunn Prince scored 16 and added 11 rebounds for his seventh double-double of the season. Austin Wright scored nine points, as well as Lane Barlow, while Greg Renfore had eight points and five boards.
The Lions, with the women’s win earlier in the day, sweep at PSU for the first time since January 11, 2006.
Pittsburg State (16-9, 12-5 MIAA) had three score in double-figures, led by 22 points from Josiah Gustafson.
The Lions opened the game on a 5-1 run, but pitt tied the game at seven with 17:34 left to go in the half. A dunk from Renfroe with 16:45 left in the half gave the Lions a 12-9 lead. A three from Charlie Brown pushed the Lions lead to five (16-11) at the 11:24 mark, but the game was tied again at 19 with 7:21 to go.
Pitt went on a 9-1 run to pushed its lead to eight (28-20) and led by 11 (32-21) after a pair of free throws with 3:41 to go. Southern answered back and went on an 8-0 run to cut the lead to three (32-29) and the Lions went into the locker room down 33-29.
A jumper from Prince to start the half cut the lead to two (33-31) and a free throw from Barlow with 17:14 left cut the lead back to one again. The Gorillas, however, slowly chipped away and put some distance between the two teams. A jumper from PSU with 11:32 to go made the lead 48-41 PSU, and the Gorillas led by seven again (50-43) after a layup with 9:20 to go.
But the Lions started to go to work. Southern had three’s from Austin Wright on two separate trips, cutting the lead to just one (52-51) with eight minutes to go. Pitt pushed its lead back to seven with six to go, but a free throw from Cornelius tied the game at 58 with just over four to play.
Two free throws from Renfroe with two minutes to go gave the Lions a 62-61 lead and a pair of freebies from Prince made the score 64-61 with 1:20 to go. Southern led 64-62 with 27 seconds to go and an offensive foul called on PSU gave the Lions the ball back with 21 to go. After a pair of missed free throws for the Lions, the Gorillas’ Devon Branch went to the line, shooting two with 5.9 to go. He made one, missed the second and Brown grabbed the rebound, getting fouled in the process. He nailed both shots and the Lions stole the inbounds pass, to secure the win.
Southern shot 40 percent from the field in the game. After shooting just 54 percent from the free throw line in the game, the Lions shot 75 percent from the line in the second half.
Pitt made only 5-15 free throws in the final five minutes of the game and the Lions had two defensive rebounds on two separate 0-2 efforts at the free throw line for the Gorillas.
Southern will be back in action this Wednesday when the Lions play host to Lindenwood. Tip off from Robert Corn Court inside the Leggett & Platt Athletic Center is slated for 7:30 pm.