JEFFERSON CITY – The Missouri Southern men’s basketball team fought back from a pair of double-digit deficits and Winston Dessesow hit a jumper with 0.2 seconds on the clock to complete the comeback, defeating Lincoln, 63-62 inside Jason Gym tonight.
Southern (12-9, 9-7 MIAA) was led by Avery Taggart with a career-high 23 points. Dessesow finished with 18 points and five rebounds, while Christian Bundy had eight points and eight boards. RJ Smith had a team-high 10 rebounds.
Lincoln (2-17, 1-13 MIAA) was led by 10 points from Mekhi Kimble as all 11 players that made their way in the game scored tonight.
Southern was ice cold from the floor to open the game, missing its first ten shots of the night as the Blue Tigers raced out to a 11-2 lead eight minutes into the first half.
The Lions climbed back and got within three (11-8) after a 6-0 run was capped by a layup from Bundy with 9:16 left. Lincoln led by nine again (19-10) with 5:56 left before a 7-0 run got the Lions within two (19-17) after a pair of freebies from Taggart with 4:21 left.
The Lincoln lead reached ten (27-17) before a three from Taggart with 33 seconds to go in the half made the score at the break 27-20.
A jumper from the Blue Tigers with 17 minutes left gave Lincoln its second ten-point lead (33-23), but a 9-0 run capped by a pair of free throws from Bundy made the score 33-32 with 14:26 left in the second half.
A pair of free throws from Dessesow with 12:40 to go gave the Lions a 36-35 lead and a jumper from Dessesow the next trip down made the score 38-35, Southern.
Lincoln kept pressing and went back up and held the lead for the majority of the half, but as was the case so many times tonight, the Lions weren’t out of fight.
Southern got a three from Smith with 2:16 left to get within four (59-55), but a dunk from the Blue Tigers put Lincoln up 62-57. However, John Gaines was called for a technical for hanging on the rim.
The foul gave the Lions a free throw, which was made by Taggart and Taggart made good on the possession with a three to cut the lead to just one (62-61) with 45 seconds left. After a defensive stop, the Lions had the ball in their own court and called timeout with 7.5 on the clock. A three from Smith was no good, but Dessesow caught the long rebound and calmly pulled up from 11 feet out to drain the game-winner.
“The way we shot the ball, the way they (Lincoln) were hitting three’s in the second half, I’m proud of the guys for keeping the fight up,” said head coach Jeff Boschee. “I told the guys they deserved this one. We had to work for everything we got tonight. ”
The Lions out rebounded Lincoln 39-37 and had an advantage on turnovers (14-9), while making 11-of-12 free throws on the night.
Southern will be back in action as the Lions prep for three-straight games at home, beginning with a matchup with Missouri Western this Thursday. Tip off from Robert Corn Court inside the Leggett & Platt Athletic Center is set for 7:30 pm.