MANKATO — Central Missouri attacked the basket, picking up fouls, scoring on layups and passing out to open shooters.
It's a plan that worked twice in the regular season, and it worked again Sunday.
"I thought we did a good job early of pounding the ball inside," Central Missouri coach Kim Anderson said. "It worked the first two games (against Missouri Southern State).
"I'm not very smart. I'm going to go with what got us here."
Central Missouri withstood a late rally, downing Missouri Southern State 94-84 in the semifinals of the NCAA II Central Region men's basketball tournament Sunday.
The game was pretty even through the first four minutes, but Central Missouri, which made 9 of its first 12 shots, went on a 20-4 run. Center Dillon Deck had 15 points as the Mules' lead grew to 25-11 at the midway point of the first half.
Missouri Southern State couldn't find the basket early, hitting 3 of the first 13 shots, but made three straight 3-pointers to pull within 31-25 at the 5:15 mark. However, the Mules, who had an 18-2 advantage on post points, pushed the lead back to 45-33 by halftime.
The margin was 23 with 10 minutes to play when the Lions made the final push. Marquis Addison scored 14 points, with two 3-pointers and an amazing three-point play, as Missouri Southern State cut the lead to 79-74 with 3:29 to go.
Deck finished with 21 points on 9 of 13 shooting, and Charles Hammork scored 17. Central Missouri shot better than 50 percent in both halves and was 29 of 35 at the free-throw line.
Addison led the Lions (25-6) with 28 points, with 19 in the second half. Jordan Talbert had 16 points and 11 rebounds.
Central Missouri (26-5) plays in the Central Region championship game at 7 p.m. Tuesday.