The Northeastern State men's basketball team lost 78-66 to Lindenwood Thursday night inside Jack Dobbins Field House.
The RiverHawks (15-6, 8-5 MIAA) took a free-fall down the conference standings, going from a tie for second to start the night all the way to solo sixth. The Lions (15-5, 8-4 MIAA) leapfrogged NSU and now sit in a three-way tie for second with Northwest Missouri State and Fort Hays State. Central Missouri lost its second-straight game but still leads the league race at 9-3.
The green and white was led by senior forward Jermaine Bransford, who recorded his 11th double-double of the season with 22 points and 11 rebounds. Junior guard Bryton Hobbs posted 14 points, seven rebounds and three steals. Senior guard Ethan Anderson contributed 13 points, while senior forward John Schneider was 4-for-4 and finished with a season-high 10 points.
The RiverHawks shot 46 percent (26-for-56) from the field, 24 percent (5-for-21) from beyond the arc and just 53 percent (9-for-17) at the line. NSU entered the game second in the nation in free-throw percentage.
Neither team led by more than three points until the RiverHawks were able to build a 22-16 edge at the 10:32 mark of the opening frame. NSU maintained the six-point advantage all the way until 6:32 remained on the clock, but from that point on Lindenwood outscored the home side 19-3 to close out the half and lead 41-31.
Northeastern State was able to tie the game at 48-48 at the 13:54 mark following a bucket from Bransford, but the visitors outscored NSU 30-18 down the stretch to secure the 12-point triumph.
Alex Bazzell paced Lindenwood with 24 points, 14 coming at the charity stripe. Brett Thompson added 18 and Tyler Ressel contributed 10 off the bench.
The Lions shot 51 percent (23-for-45) from the field, 44 percent (7-for-16) from distance and 83 percent (25-for-30) at the charity stripe.
Northeastern State will attempt to right the ship at 3:30 p.m. Feb. 9 when the team plays host to Truman State (7-13, 4-8 MIAA).