JOPLIN, Mo. — The Missouri Southern men’s basketball head coach Sam McMahon comes into his second season with the team. They set to tip off their opener this weekend.

The Lions will begin their 2023-2024 season in Kansas City to compete in the Central Region Tipoff Challenge.

Southern will take on Minnesota State-Moorhead on Friday at 1 p.m. then on Saturday they will face Bemidji State at 1 p.m.

Coach McMahon says this year he aims for his group to be a strong defensive squad.

The team plans to take away a few things from this weekend.

Cam Williams said, “I feel that the first few games, just enjoying it, just not taking it as so serious, just playing it as a game. Because at the end of the day, it’s a game. So I mean, just enjoying ourselves out there, just having fun with each other and everything else will fall into place.”

Avery Taggart says, “I think this year our biggest thing is just like, like we’ve had the experience we’ve all played in those first couple of games. So I think we’re all ready to go and I think from the start we should start. We should be hot.”

Head Coach Sam McMahon mentioned, “Yeah, we don’t focus on wins and losses. We focus on playing to our standard, and our standard is getting after it defensively, getting stops and then moving the ball on offense and playing fast. Basketball is a game of rhythm. We want to establish our rhythm and kind of take the other team out of their rhythm. So it will be a battle.”