JOPLIN, Mo. – The Northeastern State men’s basketball team defeated Missouri Southern State 73-54 Saturday afternoon inside Leggett & Platt Athletic Center.
The RiverHawks (14-4, 7-3 MIAA) won their fourth-straight contest, while the Lions (9-8, 4-5 MIAA) were held to their season low in points and lost their third in a row.
“(Assistant coaches) Jon Havens and Jordan Nagel put together a good defensive game plan,” said NSU men’s coach Larry Gipson. “There were a number of guys who took turns guarding (Marquis Addison), and they really stayed between him and the basket. They got good pressure on him.
“This year we have not been consistently good on defense, but I thought we did a really good of staying between them and the basket tonight. We explained to them at halftime that 18 of (MSSU’s) 21 points came off transition points and second-shot opportunities. We did a much better job in the second half, we made them earn baskets, and I thought that was a big key.”
Northeastern State snapped a three-game losing skid to Missouri Southern State, and the green and white earned its first win over MSSU in Joplin since Dec. 7, 2004.
Senior forward Jermaine Bransford recorded his ninth double-double of the season with 20 points and a career-high 17 rebounds. Junior guard Bryton Hobbs and junior forward Marcus Sheppard scored 12 points each, and sophomore forward Landon DeMasters added 10.
“Jermaine and Bryton have been consistent scorers for us,” Gipson said. “When we get two or three more guys getting double figures or close to it, we’re really difficult to defend because you can’t lay off us. I’ve felt all along that we have a team that can consistently have five guys on the floor that can make shots.”
The RiverHawks shot 50 percent (28-for-56) from the field, 35 percent (7-for-20) from downtown and 67 percent (10-for-15) at the charity stripe.
Missouri Southern State was held to just 31 percent (16-for-52) shooting from the field, eight percent (1-for-12) from distance and 72 percent (21-for-29) at the line.
Jordan Talbert led the Lions with 18 points and 11 rebounds. Cameron Cornelius added 14 points off the bench.
NSU never trailed after being down 2-0. The road team used a 10-0 run early in the contest to jump on top 15-5, and the RiverHawks found themselves with a 31-21 lead at the half.
The Lions got to within 11 points on two occasions in the second half, but the home side could not get any closer.
Marquis Addison entered the game averaging 20.6 points per game during MIAA play, and he was held to a season-low nine points on 2-of-12 shooting.
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