Southeast loses to Gents, falls to 0-2 in tournament

Sunday, November 19, 2006

FAIRBANKS, Alaska -- With 9 minutes still showing on the Carlson Center scoreboard, Michael Rembert sat at the end of the Southeast Missouri State bench, a white towel loosely draped over his head, hiding his face.

It was that type of night for the Redhawks, where the best they could hope for was just to hide from the action on the court, an 83-51 loss to the Centenary Gents in the consolation semifinals in the BP Top of the World Classic on Saturday.

But for the Redhawks, there was no hiding from the statistics that told the story of their on-court struggles. They shot 30.8 percent from the field, making just five baskets in the second half. Even free throws didn't come easily. Southeast converted just 13 of their 25 trips to the charity stripe. Add in 19 turnovers, and it was a night of offensive futility for the Redhawks.

"This group has no confidence right now," Redhawks coach Scott Edgar said. "I've done this a long time and I saw the body language, the eyes. I was very very concerned. I think now my major task is not so much basketball, but just to find where my team went to."

The game didn't start out that way. The Redhawks hung with the Gents for most of the first half as the teams swapped leads, which changed hands five times with seven ties. It wasn't until the Gents went on a 9-0 run in the final 2:38 of the first half that things came unglued for the Redhawks.

"That's been all three games we've played ... something about the 2-minute mark at the end of the first half," Edgar said.

Freshman forward Jerrald Bonham sparked the run for the Gents, getting two quick layups to turn a 34-32 edge into a six-point lead. Senior Larry Logan knocked down two free throws for Centenary and Tyrone Hamilton hit a 3-pointer from the left wing with 4 seconds left in the half to cap off the run.

The Gents carried that energy into the second half, scoring 27 of the first 31 points of the second stanza, extending their lead to 70-36.

The Redhawks missed 12 shots and turned the ball over four times during that stretch.

"Basketball is a game of decisions and we're just making poor decisions offensively," Edgar said. "Poor decisions in as much passing the ball as shooting the ball."

While the Redhawks were tentative, Centenary came out firing from the start, looking to avenge Friday's slow start which cost them the game against Utah State. The Gents shot 52 percent in the first stanza, including a 5-for-8 performance from behind the arc.

Everything came easy to the Gents on Saturday, including play on the boards, where they'd struggled. Logan paced the Gents, grabbing 12 balls off the glass as his team outrebounded Southeast 41-31.

With the wind out of their sails, the Redhawks failed to find their rhythm on offense, managing just 19 second-half points.

"I think at times, a lot of them do small things good in parts," Edgar said. "They do things individually in parts, and that's why we're not a team, because we don't have a team doing those things in parts."

Centenary had four players score in double figures while Brandon Foust led the Redhawks with nine points.

The Gents will take on Rhode Island at 3:30 p.m. today while the Redhawks will face Alaska-Fairbanks in a 6:30 p.m. matchup, giving Edgar little time to right the ship and boost his team's confidence.

"I need to research and find the team that got on a bus to go play Arkansas," Edgar said, "because we felt good about ourselves."

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