Men’s basketball opens season at Sanford Pentagon Tipoff Classic

Press Release MSSU:
The Missouri Southern men’s basketball team will open up the 2014-15 season this Saturday and Sunday when the Lions travel to Sioux Falls, SD to participate in the Sanford Pentagon Tipoff Classic.

Game Information

Teams: Missouri Southern (0-0) vs. Northern State (0-0)/Sioux Falls (0-0)
: Sat. & Sun., November 15-16, 2014
Tip-Off: Noon – Sat.; 2 pm – Sun
Location: Sioux Falls, SD
Site: Sanford Pentagon (3,200)
Series Record: First overall meeting between each team
Coaches: Jeff Boschee (0-0 overall/at MSSU). Paul Sather (157-111 overall and 63-49 at NSU); Chris Johnson (132-86 overall/116-71 at USF)

Media Coverage

MSSU Radio: None
Internet Audio:
Webcast: none
Live Stats: none
Lions on Facebook:
Lions on Twitter: @mososports; @mssumensbball

A look at the coaches: Jeff Boschee, MSSU – Jeff Boschee is in his first season as the head coach of the Missouri Southern basketball program after serving four seasons as an assistant and associate head coach. He was named the head coach of the Lions on July 1, 2014. Since Boschee has arrived at Southern, the Lions have went 86-33, made four consecutive MIAA tournaments and had trips to three of the last four NCAA Division II postseason tournaments, while claiming the 2010-11 MIAA regular season championship, and the 2013-14 post-season tournament championship. The 2010-11 team set the MIAA record for conference wins in a season with 19. Under Boschee’s leadership, former Lion Skyler Bowlin was the MIAA’s Player and Defender of the Year in 2011. He was a first-team All-MIAA, All-Region and All-American selection, being named to three different All-America teams. He was also the Region Player of the Year and a finalist for the National Player of the Year. Bowlin signed a professional contract to play basketball in the German Pro League after completing his eligibility and has since moved on to playing in Denmark.

Paul Sather, Northern State – 2014-15 will be Head Coach Paul Sather’s fifth year at the helm of the Wolves. Sather, who is the 22nd head men’s basketball coach at Northern State, is a 1996 graduate of NSU. Sather has compiled a 63-49 record while at Northern and in 2013-14, led the Wolves to a 18-11 record overall. In his short tenure with the Wolves, Sather has also coached two 1,000-point scorers at NSU in Collin Pryor and Dustin Tetzlaff. Prior to arriving back in Aberdeen, Sather spent five years as the head coach at Black Hills State, guiding the Yellow Jackets to a 94-62 record during his time there before returning to NSU.

Chris Johnson, Sioux Falls – University of Sioux Falls head men’s basketball coach Chris Johnson, who was named the school’s 22nd head coach in 2008, begins his seventh season at the helm of the program. Since taking over, Johnson has guided the Cougars to four 20-win seasons, three post-season appearances, two conference tournament championships and one regular season conference crown. Just once in his run has the Cougars finished below .500. In fact, he has led the team to 15 wins six times and recorded four 20-win seasons with the 25-10 campaign in 2009-10 the best finish. During his tenure, USF is 116-71 (.620), which places him second on the USF men’s basketball career coaching wins list behind Shane Murphy (2001-08, 154-77, .631) with 154 careeer wins. Johnson, who is 132-86 (.640) overall, has compiled a 71-16 mark at home and a 36-49 road record with a 9-6 mark on a neutral floor. In NSIC play, he has a 27-27 record, including a 17-8 mark in home league games.

New Head Coach – Southern will be under a new head coach for the first time in 25 years this season as first-year head coach Jeff Boschee will taking the reigns from Hall of Fame coach Robert Corn.

New Coaches – Boschee returns assistant coach Nick Bradford who was on the staff last season and brings in former Missouri State coach Sam McMahon, as well as former Baker University guard Todd Johnston to round out the coaching staff.

Defending Champs – The Lions won the 2014 MIAA Basketball Tournament in Kansas City last year, defeating Nebraska-Kearney in the opener. The Lions beat Northwest Missouri in game two and won against Central Oklahoma in the Tournament Championship.

Regional Appearance – The Lions made the program’s fifth-ever appearance in the NCAA tournament last season when the team went to Mankato, Minn. and lost to eventual National Champion Central Missouri in the round of 32. The Lions have been to the NCAA Tournament in three of the last four seasons.

MIAA Preseason Poll – Southern was picked to finish fifth in the MIAA pre-season coaches poll. Defending national and league champion Central Missouri was picked to repeat and received ten first-place votes. Fort Hays State was picked second with two first-place votes, while Washburn and Northwest Missouri were picked third and fourth, each receiving a first-place vote. Southern was fifth, followed by Central Oklahoma, Nebraska-Kearney, Emporia State, Lindenwood and Pittsburg State to round out the top ten. Missouri Western, Northeastern State, Southwest Baptist, and Lincoln round out the poll.

Record Breakers – Junior shooting guard Austin Wright set two records for the Lions last year, breaking the single-season three point percentage mark (.493) and he also is the current career-leader in that category (.443).

Tough Schedule – Missouri Southern plays a tough non-conference schedule this season participating in two regional tournaments. The Lions will face-off with a pair of NSIC teams in the Sanford Pentagon Tipoff to start the season and the team will travel to San Antonio, Texas to take on St. Mary’s and Midwestern State, both of whom are receiving votes in the preseason national poll. The Lions have five teams on their schedule this year that are receiving votes in the preseason poll.

Three Point Streak – The Lions failed to make a three-pointer at Arkansas Tech in their match-up in 2012-13. It was the first time in 403 games that Southern had failed to hit a three pointer, dating back to Jan. 20, 1999 against Missouri S&T. The Lions have had a three in 53-straight games since Arkansas Tech in 2012-13.

Welcome Back – Cameron Cornelius, Lane Barlow and Greg Renfroe return to the starting lineup for the Lions, as Southern returns nine players overall from 2013-14. The Lions will also have the help of three players that practiced with the team last season, but redshirted.

Fresh Faces – The Lions have five new players on the roster this year and two more that redshirted last season for the team. Charlie Brown, Terrence Pierce and Andrew Ballock are true freshmen, while Taylor Luster, Bruce Marshall and Taevaunn Prince transfer in from either junior college or four-year institutions. Both Prince and Brandon Pines practiced with Missouri Southern last year, but redshirted.

First Time For Everything – The Lions will be playing their two opponents this weekend for the first time ever as Southern tips off against Northern State and the University of Sioux Falls for the first-time in men’s basketball.

Strong Opener – The Lions faced off with Division I Missouri State in the exhibition opener for both teams. Southern led by as many as 15 and led by 13 at halftime, but MSU (picked to finish third in the Missouri Valley Conference) used a jumper with 2.9 seconds left to defeat Southern.

Up Next – Southern will head to Arkansas-Fort Smith for a Wednesday night game, before playing host to the annual Freeman Sports Medicine/Chris Tucker Memorial Classic next weekend. The Lions will welcome Lincoln University, Mid-American Christian and St. Mary (Kan.) to the Leggett & Platt Athletic Center. The Lions play St. Mary on Friday and Mid-America Christian on Saturday.