POPLAR BLUFF, Mo. -- It's been a roller-coaster ride the last week for the Jackson Indians.
A come-from-behind victory against Notre Dame on Friday night was followed by news that senior guard Drue McNeely tore his anterior cruciate ligament and may be done for the year.
Then on Monday, Jake Leet sprained his ankle.
Both were on the bench Tuesday night as the Indians suffered their first SEMO Conference loss of the season, a 62-52 loss to two-time defending state champion Poplar Bluff.
"It affected us," Jackson coach Darrin Scott said. "So I told them I was proud of our effort. We could have folded the tent and got beat by 20 pretty easy tonight [but] we kept battling."
Kyle Pridemore scored all but two of his team-high 19 points for the Indians in the second half. Aaron Redecker scored 14 points and had nine rebounds for Jackson (14-4, 3-1 SEMO).
Mississippi State recruit Ben Hansbrough scored 21 points for the Mules (9-4, 2-0), who remain the last unbeaten team in the conference. Allan Spencer and Rusty Bryant each scored 12.
Poplar Bluff never trailed after Hansbrough's pull-up 3-pointer just 3 minutes into the game. Jackson tied the game twice before the Mules used an 8-2 run to pull away for good.
Spencer and Hansbrough combined for 15 of Poplar Bluff's 19 first-quarter points.
"They came out and shot the ball well," Scott said. "We needed to do a better job of getting out on the kids that we thought were shooters."
After Jackson's Ryan Leet tied the game at 19-19 early in the second period, Poplar Bluff put together an 8-0 run fueled by four Jackson turnovers.
Poplar Bluff led 30-23 at halftime and rattled off an 11-0 third-quarter run started by Hansbrough's 3-pointer. Three steals by the Mules helped the rally, which pushed the margin to 16 on Spencer's baseline jumper.
Jackson trailed 46-34 after three quarters but cut the deficit to single digits three times in the fourth quarter. Each time the Mules answered, twice going to Hansbrough.
"The kids who stepped in I was proud of their effort, and I think we've got some time to get ready for Sikeston on Tuesday," Scott said. "So we're going to work hard to get better offensively [and] improve those things."
POPLAR BLUFF 62, JACKSON 52
JACKSON (52) -- Kyle Pridemore 19, Spencer Goodman 6, Ryan Leet 4, Aaron Redecker 14, Hunter Grantham 7, Colby Illers 2. FG 22, FT 9-10 (3-pointers: Pridemore 1. Fouled out: NA)
POPLAR BLUFF (62) -- Spencer 12, Bascombe 2, Taylor 6, Hansbrough 21, Bryant 12, March 3, Stocks 4, Dye 2. Totals 23(5) 11-16 62. FG 28, FT 11-16. (3-pointers: Spencer 1, Hansbrough 3, March 1. Fouled out: NA)