Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Bearcats host #25 Lions in battle for first

Meyer Sports Center •
December 18, 2010 • Bolivar, Mo.
7:30 PM • RADIO: KBFL 99.9 FM

BOLIVAR, Mo. -- With sole possession of first place on the line, The SBU Bearcats host unbeaten and nationally-ranked Missouri Southern. The winner will be the last team to have a perfect record in MIAA play, and will be on the inside track to a conference title. Tickets are still available, and fans can catch the game live on KBFL 99.9, or find live video online at

SBU head coach Jeff Guiot continues in his seventh season on the Bearcat bench, where he has won three MIAA regular season titles, and compiled a 134-57 (.702) record. Coach Guiot has led the ‘Cats to an MIAA Tournament appearance each season, and three NCAA Tournament appearnaces. Last season, SBU won 20 games for the third consecutive season, marking the first time in the history of the program the feat has been accomplished.

Entering his 22nd season as head coach at Missouri Southern, Robert Corn has guided the Lions to 17 Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association Tournament berths, 12 in a row, and two trips to the NCAA Tournament.

The Lions hold the slimmest of margins against the Bearcats, leading the all-time series, 41-40. However, the Bearcats have won the last nine meetings, and are 10-2 against Missouri Southern in the Coach Guiot era.

Holding the Gorillas to just 68 points, the SBU Bearcats defense helped earn a seventh straight win and continue their undefeated start to the MIAA season with the lowest point total by an opponant this season. Junior Ryan Dougherty led the Bearcats, with a team-high 16 points, five assists, five rebounds and four steals in the 84-68 victory.

The Bearcats led throughout the opening minutes, leading by as much as seven points, when Pittsburg State went on a 11-2 run that gave the Gorillas the lead. Pittsburg would go up by as much as 11 points with less than five minutes left in the first half, but a 15-4 Bearcat run cut the PSU lead to just one at the half.

SBU would come out for the second half red-hot, hitting their first seven shots from the field, giving them a 55-41 edge. The Bearcats shot 53.8% (7-for-13) from beyond the arc in the second half, which helped stretch their lead to 24 when Tremaine Hill hit a three-pointer with six minutes left to play. Hill finished with 13 points, three shy of his career high of 16, which he reached twice earlier this season.

• Junior guard Ryan Dougherty was named MIAA Student-Athlete of the Week, after coming within a point of his career high, scoring 22 points in the win over Truman.

• Dougherty currently leads the team with 15.9 points per game (10th in MIAA), shooting 51.0% from the floor, the conference’s sixth-best percentage. Against MIAA opponents, Dougherty is averaging 20.0 points a game (6th in MIAA) and is shooting 57.4% (5th in MIAA).

• Dougherty became the second straight Bearcat to win Athlete of the Week, after senior guard Tomas Brock won the award with his performance in the upset win of Central Missouri.

• Brock is the second-leading scorer for the Bearcats, with 14.4 points per game (14th in MIAA). In conference games, Brock leads the MIAA with 21.5 points per game.

• The Bearcats boast four of the top ten best three-point shooters in the MIAA. Tremaine Hill (44.4%, 5th), Brock (44.2%, 6rd), Zach Kleine (44.1%, 7th), and Nick James (43.5%, 8th) are all among the league leaders in three-point percentage.

• Kleine, along with Lane Barlow continue to make an impact coming off the SBU bench. The freshman duo average a combined 11.6 points per game. Barlow set a career high with 12 points against Truman.

• Kurt Koenig (10.5 ppg) is the third Bearcat to average double figures this season. The senior also ranks third in the MIAA with 1.5 blocks per game among conference matchups.

• SBU has won 47 of the last 50 games at the Meyer Sports Center, including a streak of 38 straight wins that stretches from 2007-10. SBU’s win over Drury earlier this year marked Coach Guiot’s 70th win in Bolivar.

Missouri Southern has gotten off to a strong 4-0 start to conference play, with home wins over MIAA contenders Central Missouri and Missouri Western.

The matchup will bring the best defense in the league (MSSU’s 62.9 points allowed) up against the highest-scoring team in the MIAA, in SBU’s 89.5 point average. The Lions are strong on the other side of the court as well, scoring 81.0 points per game.

Offensively, the Lions are led by senior guard Skyler Bowlin, who is averaging 18.9 points per game (4th in MIAA). Keane Thomann is a key under the basket, bringing down 7.9 boards each night, third-most in the league.

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