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Newcomers help Southeast to exhibition victory
Southeast men's basketball squad opens with 102-96 win over Lincoln University.
Southeast Missouri State expects solid contributions from its newcomers this season.
But with the Redhawks' top two returning players not seeing action in Thursday night's exhibition opener, the rookies had to shoulder even more of a load than anticipated.
They came up big in helping the Redhawks rally past Division II Lincoln University by the NBA-like score of 102-96.
Four of Southeast's five first-year scholarship players combined for 63 points as the Redhawks overcame an 11-point second-half deficit.
"Those guys really did a good job," Southeast coach Scott Edgar said.
Particularly impressive were center Will Bogan and swingman Jaycen Herring.
Bogan, the Redhawks' only scholarship freshman, had a dazzling college debut, even if it won't count statistically since it came in an exhibition.
Although Bogan did not start, after Edgar said earlier in the week that he would, the 6-foot-10 Bell City High School product produced 20 points and a game-high 17 rebounds in 26 minutes.
Bogan hit 8-of-12 field-goal attempts, all within a few feet of the basket and many on putbacks. He also made all four of his free throws.
"I was kind of nervous at first. My first college game ... but I just did the best I could do," Bogan said. "I was kind of surprised [with how well he performed]. I was surprised how many rebounds I had."
Said Edgar of Bogan's performance: "What else can you ask for?"
Herring, a slender and athletic 6-5 junior college transfer, scored a team-high 22 points, many coming in transition, including several highlight-reel dunks.
Herring led Southeast in steals with three and tied for the team lead in assists with four.
"We try to focus on getting out and running," Herring said. "Any time I get an opportunity to dunk, I'm going to try to dunk."
Said Edgar: "Jaycen Herring is a really talented player. He's skilled and he has a lot of instincts."
A third newcomer, junior college transfer guard Kenard Moore, reached double figures with 14 points as he hit 3-of-7 3-pointers, while adding four assists.
Like Bogan and Herring, Moore came off the bench.
"He hit some big shots," Edgar said.
Sophomore Calvin Williams, a Colorado transfer who practiced with the team last year but could not participate in games, added seven points. He started at center Thursday.
Southeast also got help from several returning players, led by Marcus Rhodes and Jimmy Drew.
Rhodes, a sophomore guard who made several starts last season but was not a full-time regular, scored 11 points.
Drew, a sophomore guard who saw limited action a year ago, scored nine of his 10 points in the second half. He hit 3-of-5 3-pointers, and added seven rebounds.
"He hit some big 3s in the second half," Edgar said.
Sophomore swingman Johnny Hill, who saw limited action last season, added nine points and nine rebounds.
Two returning regulars, senior swingman David Johnson and sophomore point guard Roderick Pearson, joined Williams, Rhodes and Drew in Thursday's starting lineup.
Senior center Mike Rembert, last year's top rebounder and No. 3 scorer, was on the bench in street clothes as he continues to rehabilitate following summer knee surgery.
Senior forward Brandon Foust, last year's leading scorer and No. 2 rebounder -- and a preseason all-Ohio Valley Conference pick -- was not even at the Show Me Center.
Foust has been limited by Edgar to on-and-off practice time since he rejoined the squad after being temporarily suspended from the university following an altercation in a campus dormitory.
Edgar has said Foust is still working out some things in order to get back in the program's good graces. On Thursday he said Foust is "very, very close to being back with me 100 percent."
Asked if Foust would play in Saturday's final exhibition game against Division II Missouri-Rolla, Edgar said: "There's a chance."
Without Rembert and Foust, the Redhawks trailed 57-54 at halftime and 65-54 early in the second half as Lincoln shredded Southeast's defense from 3-point range.
But the Tigers, from Jefferson City, Mo., finally cooled off and Southeast went ahead for good with an 18-0 run, although things remained tight until the end.
Southeast opened an 85-74 advantage, its biggest of the night, but Lincoln twice pulled within two points late before the Redhawks finished off the visitors.
"They were just coming down and shooting 3s," Bogan said.
Lincoln hit 13-of-20 first-half 3-pointers, but made just 5-of-22 in the second half. Ralph Mata went 5-of-5 from long range in the opening period on his way to 22 points, but he scored just three second-half points.
"We've got to recognize ... we've got to push our defense out more," Edgar said. "But it's a learning experience."