Southeast focuses on practice after trip

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

The Redhawks get needed practice time following their opening four-game stretch.

Southeast Missouri State played its first four games in a span of 10 days, including three games in the past seven days.

That kind of schedule doesn't allow for very much practice time, which coach Gary Garner believes is critical for his inexperienced team.

So Garner is pleased that the Redhawks (2-2) now have nearly a week to prepare for Saturday night's Ohio Valley Conference opener at Tennessee-Martin (1-1, with a game Thursday against Arkansas State).

"When you're playing so many games in a short period of time, it really cuts down on the time you have to practice," Garner said. "Now we'll be able to get in several practices before we go to Tennessee-Martin, and we need that practice time badly.

"Tennessee-Martin has a really experienced team, and starting conference play so early definitely favors teams with a lot of experience. We really need to get a lot better this week before Saturday's game."

The Redhawks returned to Cape Girardeau late Sunday night, after finishing up a two-game road trip earlier in the day by losing to Nebraska 69-54.

Southeast trailed by just nine points heading into the final five minutes before an 11-0 Nebraska run iced the victory.

Poor shooting continued to plague the Redhawks against the Cornhuskers. Southeast shot 30.3 percent, including 27.6 percent from 3-point range, as they made eight of 29 from beyond the arc.

"That's probably too many threes to take," Garner said. "Most of our perimeter guys are good 3-point shooters, but maybe we're taking the 3-pointer too quickly."

Prior to Sunday's game, the Redhawks had shot 48.1 percent from 3-point range in their first three contests.

Southeast is shooting just 38.2 percent from the field overall through four games, and its 3-point percentage dipped to 40.7 after Sunday's struggles.

The Redhawks have only had one even respectable shooting performance so far, when they made 47.4 percent -- including 54.2 percent of their 3-pointers -- during Thursday's 75-68 win at South Dakota State.

"I feel like we've been getting good shots all year," Garner said. "Going into the season, I really thought we could shoot a high percentage, but we're not. Hopefully that will change.

"Right now we're struggling [offensively] with our big guys. We have to get more balance inside and outside, but I think we can."

Booker nets OVC honor

Southeast senior guard Roy Booker was named the OVC's player of the week on Monday.

Booker extended his season-opening streak of double-figure scoring games to four, averaging 20 points in three contests last week.

Booker had 25 points in a 65-64 loss to IPFW, scored 12 points in the win over South Dakota State, then had his first Southeast double-double with 23 points and 11 rebounds in the loss to Nebraska.

A transfer from Montana, Booker ranks fifth in the OVC in scoring at 19.3 points per game. He is also averaging six rebounds and two assists.

Johnson to be examined

Garner said junior guard David Johnson, who has been hampered by a variety of ailments so far, will be examined by his personal doctor in St. Louis this week to help determine the course of action for his hernia problems.

Johnson, a junior college transfer, missed both exhibition games with a sprained thumb and sat out the IPFW game with a head injury.

After scoring a team-high 16 points against South Dakota State in his first start, Johnson was scheduled to start against Nebraska.

But Johnson, who has had hernia problems in the past, apparently had the condition flare up at Saturday's practice. He scored just two points in 18 minutes off the bench, after getting a total of 27 points in the other two games he has played in.

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