JOPLIN — The Mules trailed by as many as 17 in the second half before rallying to within six late, but they came up short in a 100-89 loss to Missouri Southern on Saturday afternoon. The Mules fall to 9-5 overall and 3-5 in MIAA play.
The game was back and forth at the start with the Mules taking a quick 5-0 lead on a three from Jakob Lowrance and a layup from D’Marnier Cunningham. The Lions (10-6, 7-3 MIAA) responded with a 7-0 run to grab their first lead of the game.
The Lions grabbed a three-point lead only to see UCM tie the game at 16-all on another Cunningham jumper, but back-to-back threes from Austin Wright gave the Lions a 22-16 lead. The lead grew to eight, but a 9-2 run by the Mules cut the lead to 30-29 with 3:32 left before the break. The teams traded buckets the remainder of the half and Missouri Southern led 39-37 at halftime.
Out of the break, Lowrance hit a three to put UCM in front 40-39. Isaac Kreuer scored on a layup to put MSSU back in front, but Kyle Wolf buried a three and the Mules led 43-41 early in the final period.
The lead went back and forth until the 16:03 mark when Charlie Brown made two free throws to give the Lions a 49-48 lead. He made two more foul shots and Bruce Marshall scored to give MSSU a 53-48 lead. The Mules cut the lead to four at 58-54, but the Lions used a 13-1 run to grab a 71-55 lead with 10:24 to play.
The lead grew to 17 at 76-59 with 8:30 to play in the game, but the Mules started to inch back in to the game. The Mules trimmed the lead to 11 at 79-68, but a three from Taylor Luster pushed the MSSU lead back to 14. The lead grew back to 17 at 87-70 with 4;12 to play, but still UCM kept pushing.
Marquiez Lawrence scored on a tip-in and free throw to pull the Mules within 14. Cunningham scored six straight points for UCM to pull the Mules within nine with 2:19 to play. The teams traded free throws before a layup from Tereke Eckwood and two foul shots from Spencer Reaves cut the Lion lead to six at 93-87 with 1:38 to play.
MSSU, however, scored seven of the final nine points to close out the 11-point win.
The Mules shot 56 percent for the game, 28-50, but were just 6-of-18 from three point range. UCM was 27-of-32 at the foul line for 84 percent. Cunningham led UCM with 28 points while Lawrence added 18 points and nine board and Lowrance chipped in 14.
Charlie Brown led MSSU with a career-high 29 points while Taevaunn Prince had 25, DJ Feitl finished with 14 and Wright had 12. The Lions shot 57 percent from the field (29-51) and made 11-of-20 three-point attempts. They were 31-of-38 at the foul line for 82 percent.
The Mules had seven assists and 12 turnovers compared to 15 assists and just seven turnovers for the Lions.
The Mules look to get back on the winning track on Wednesday when they welcome Lindenwood to the Multi for a 7:30 p.m. tip. The game can be heard live on 1450 KOKO, 98.5 The Bar and warrensburgradio.com with Greg Hassler on the call.
Press release courtsey UCM