JOPLIN -- Missouri Southern rode the wave of a strong first half and converted 19 of 23 free throws in the second half, en route to its fourth straight win, a 79-73 decision over Emporia State on Wednesday night (Jan. 19). The Lions (9-9, 5-2 MIAA) shot 51.7 percent in the first half and led by as many as 13, but it was a 19-7 run that put Southern in the driver`s seat. Emporia State led 21-20 with 7:51 to play before the break when freshman guard Tyler Ryerson hit his third three-pointer of the half to spark Southern onto the run. Senior Hiram Ocasio and junior Jeremy McCadney each had five MSSU points during the rally that led to a 39-28 Lions lead at halftime. The second half began as a half of scoring spurts from both teams. While MSSU went without a field goal over the first 4:53 after intermission, the Hornets cut the lead to six on the strength of buckets from Shawn Herrman, Wes Book and Deshawn Anderson. After back-to-back scores from Orestus Cavness and another jumper from Quentin Edwards, the Lions again had the margin at double digits, 48-36, only to see ESU go on a 9-0 spurt to pull to within three, 48-45. The Hornet run included seven points from Anderson. Southern again extended the lead to 11 points, with 10:46 to play with an 8-0 burst that included another three-pointer from Ryerson and an old-fashioned three-point play from McCadney. Emporia State, with two straight scores from Tyrell Sledge, got back within four, but the Lions were able to keep it a two-possession game over the remainder of the contest. The Hornets got within five points three times in the final 4:14, as the Lions didn`t score a field goal over the game`s final 5:16. Missouri Southern got its points at the foul line, converting 13-of-16 free throws in the last 4:23. Anderson scored 16 of his game-high 26 points in the second half. Sledge, who finished with 16, had 12 after halftime. Herrman added 10 after the break, including eight at the foul line, and finished with 11 points. Jay Miller, who sparked Emporia State early, had 13 points, all in the first half. Southern, in moving back to the .500 mark for the first time since Nov. 19, got 16 points from Cavness. Ryerson and Ocasio each had 14 points, while McCadney earned his first double-double of the year with 13 points and 10 boards. The Lions outrebounded ESU 38-33 and shot a season-high 81.5 percent at the free throw line.