Men’s basketball opens up MIAA play with trip to Neb.-Kearney

Press Release MSSU:

The Missouri Southern men’s basketball team will look to continue its recent hot streak when the team travels to Kearney, Neb. tomorrow to open up MIAA play against the Lopers. Tipoff from Kearney is slated for 7:30 pm.

Game Information

Teams: Missouri Southern (5-3, 0-0 MIAA) at Nebraska-Kearney (2-1, 0-0 MIAA)

Date : Thursday, Dec. 4, 2014
Tip-Off: 7:30 pm
Location: Kearney, Neb.
Site: Health and Sports Center (5,700)
Series Record: Lopers lead 18-11
Coaches: Jeff Boschee (5-3 overall/at MSSU). Tom Kropp (464-235 overall, 138-115 at UNK)

Media Coverage

MSSU Radio: FM 99.7 KBTN – Mike McClure – Play-by-play
Internet Audio:
Live Stats:
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.

Tom Kropp – Nebraska-Kearney – Throughout Tom Kropp’s time at Kearney State College/University of Nebraska-Kearney, he has been one of the most successful Lopers playing on the court and coaching on the sideline. Kropp is among the greatest athletes to hail from Nebraska and was named by Sports Illustrated in 2004 as one of the state’s 10 greatest sports celebrities, joining the likes of Andy Roddick and Ahman Green. Along with having the second best record (464-235) in school history for men’s basketball coach, Kropp was drafted in the NBA, ABA, and NFL. During Kropp’s 24-year run with the Lopers, he has spent stretches of six and eight years as co-head coach; sandwiched between those two stints were nine seasons he spent as the program’s head coach. Throughout his time as the head men’s coach, Kropp has coached four All-Americans and reached the NCAA Tournament 11 times.

The Series – Nebraska-Kearney leads the all-time series 18-11 between the two schools, but the Lions have won the last two in a row, including a first-round win in the MIAA Tournament last year in Kansas City. Southern is 8-7 at home, 2-11 on the road and 1-0 in neutral site games The Lions have won the last two games in a row, but UNK had won six in a row previously, with all but one being played when the Lions were still a member of the NAIA.

New Coaches – Jeff Boschee along with assistant coach Nick Bradford who was on the staff last season, bring 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.

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).

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 61-straight games since Arkansas Tech in 2012-13.

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.

Stingy Defense – The Lions have held their opponents to 71 points or under in their last three games. Against Benedictine, Southern held the Ravens to 48 points, nearly 20 points below the season average for the No. 4 ranked team in the NAIA. The total is the lowest opponent output since the Lions held Central Bible to 39 points in 2012.

Bench Scoring – The Lions’ bench has outscored the opponent’s bench in five of the eight games this season. Overall, Southern’s bench has outscored the opponents 232-171.

Outshoot The Opponent – One thing that has been consistent this season is that when the Lions outshoot their opponents, they win, going 4-0 in games where that happens. They have, however, gone 0-3 when they are outshot.

NCAA Stat Leaders – The Lions, as a team, rank third in both free-throws attempted and made, while ranking 30th in total blocks and 23rd in total rebounds. Individually, Cameron Cornelius ranks 6th nationally in minutes played, while Taevaunn Prince ranks 23rd in free-throws made. Austin Wright ranks 24th in three-pointers made, while Greg Renfroe ranks 29th in total blocks and Lane Barlow ranks 28th in free-throws made.

MIAA Stat Leaders – The Lions, as a team, lead the MIAA in free-throws made, while ranking second in free-throws attempted. They rank second in total blocks, while ranking third in both total rebounds and three-point field goals per game. Individually, Renfroe leads the MIAA in total blocks, while Prince ranks second in free-throws and Wright is second in three-point percentage. Wright ranks third in three’s made, while Barlow is third free-thows and Renfrow is third in rebounds per game. Cornelius ranks third in both total minutes and total field goal attempts.

Up Next – Southern will open head to Washburn to take on the Ichabods on Saturday, December 6 at 7 pm.