Breakdown compounds road loss

Thursday, December 11, 2003

It wasn't bad enough that Southeast Missouri State University fell tantalizingly short of a major upset Tuesday night at Arkansas.

Things got worse on the return trip home when the Indians' bus broke down a little more than two hours into a scheduled seven-hour drive back to Cape Girardeau.

The Indians spent about four hours in a cold bus -- the heaters stopped working when the engine failed -- on the side of a highway just outside Springfield, Mo., until a replacement bus finally arrived.

The return trip was slowed considerably by heavy snow much of the way, so the Indians didn't arrive in Cape Girardeau until 10:50 a.m. Wednesday -- about six hours later than originally planned.

"What can you do? Things happen," said Southeast coach Gary Garner. "It's not the first time I've had a bus break down, and I'm sure it won't be the last."

Although the passengers kept their humor and composure during the unexpected detour, it would have been a lot easier to stomach had the Indians (4-3) been able to close out an impressive performance in Fayetteville, Ark.

The Indians built a 33-18 lead in the first half and led 41-31 at halftime. But poor rebounding and poor shooting did them in as Arkansas (5-1) rallied and won 78-68.

"We could have beaten them," said junior forward Dainmon Gonner, who scored a team-high 20 points. "They've got a nice squad, real athletic, but if we had played better in the second half, and hit our free throws, we would have won. We need to close games out."

The Indians host Division II Oakland City (Ind.) on Saturday.

Noteworthy

Gonner and Willie Jenkins of Tennessee Tech tied as newcomer of the week in the Ohio Valley Conference this week.

Chandra Brown is the OVC women's newcomer of the week. It's her second OVC newcomer award this season.

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