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Southeast seeks to avenge painful home loss to UTM
As fortunate as his team was to beat Southeast Missouri State University earlier this season, Tennessee-Martin coach Bret Campbell looks for nothing but the Indians' best shot tonight when the squads have a rematch in Martin, Tenn.
"I'm sure SEMO has their eye on us for revenge night, because they feel like they should have won that game," Campbell said. "They really did outplay us for most of the night, but we hung around, hit some big shots at the end and were fortunate to send it to overtime."
On Jan. 16 at the Show Me Center, Southeast led by 10 points midway through the second half and never trailed in regulation.
But the Indians never could put UTM away and the Skyhawks hit several huge shots down the stretch, including a 3-pointer with eight seconds left in regulation to force overtime. UTM went on to hit all six of its field-goal attempts in the extra session to post an 88-80 victory.
"That was a game we felt like we should have won, and had won," Southeast coach Gary Garner said. "We led just about the whole game, but they made some really big shots at the end and then they didn't miss in overtime."
Both teams could seriously use a win tonight because neither squad has been getting much done recently.
Southeast (9-14, 4-7 Ohio Valley Conference) has lost three straight and fallen into a seventh-place tie in the nine-team league.
UTM (12-10, 5-6) has lost four of five and six of eight after being one of the conference's early surprises. The Skyhawks are in sixth place but just one game out of fourth, which is significant, because the top four finisher earn home games for the first round of the OVC Tournament.
"I think just about everybody is still in the running for that fourth spot," Campbell said. "It's definitely great motivation. The fourth spot is important."
The Skyhawks are third in the OVC offensively with nearly 78 points per game and they force more than 18 turnovers a contest to lead the league.
UTM has three primary offensive weapons in junior guard Earl Bullock (16.8 ppg), senior forward Joey Walker (15.4) and junior forward J.C. Howe (13.4).
"They like to pressure the ball. We did a pretty good job against it last game but it's going to be another key this time," Garner said. "Bullock, Walker and Howe are scoring well and those are guys you really have to defend."