Redhawks may have hands full with Aces

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

MVC's Evansville visits Southeast men tonight.

The nonconference schedule for the Southeast Missouri State men's basketball team features just three home games, and two of those are against non-Division I squads.

For Southeast fans, the Redhawks' most attractive nonconference home opponent visits the Show Me Center tonight.

Evansville, from the Missouri Valley Conference, and the Redhawks will tip off at 7:30 p.m. Anybody 18 and under receives free admission as part of "Take a Kid to the Game Night."

"For the nonconference, it's a big game," Southeast coach Scott Edgar said. "I would hope we would have a good crowd for this one. That would really give us a boost."

Edgar said it was the luck of the draw that left room for only three nonleague home games. In addition to the guarantee games Southeast has to play, both contests in the ESPN BracketBuster format are also on the road this year.

"There was not much flexibility," Edgar said.

Evansville (0-2) might not on paper appear to be an overwhelming opponent for the Redhawks (1-2). The Purple Aces, who lost three four-year starters from a squad that tied for seventh in the 10-team MVC, are the consensus pick to finish last in that league.

But with the MVC being rated much higher than the Ohio Valley Conference, Edgar said whoever Evansville puts on the floor will be a quality player.

"They've got a lot of new names, but they recruited to play in the Missouri Valley Conference, which is one of the top leagues in the country," Edgar said.

Evansville, 14-17 overall and 6-12 in the MVC last year, returned just one player who averaged more than seven points per game.

But that individual, junior Jason Holsinger, is among the MVC's better point guards.

Holsinger is averaging 17.5 points through two games after he averaged 11.5 points last season while ranking fifth in the MVC in assists (five per game) and sixth in 3-point field-goal percentage (43.7).

"A lot of times the key to people's teams is their point guard," Edgar said. "We've already seen some very good point guards, and he falls right along with those.

"He won't turn it over much, he's a very good 3-point shooter. Hopefully we can put pressure on him."

Evansville has played its first two games at home, losing 50-49 to Samford of the OVC and 60-47 to nationally ranked Butler.

"I think it has all the makings of a good early season college basketball game," Edgar said.

Last year, in the sixth game of Edgar's first season at Southeast, the Redhawks lost at Evansville 65-45.

"We owe them from last year," Southeast senior swingman David Johnson said. "We really owe them."

Juco forward signs

Southeast on Monday received a national letter of intent from one of the two players who had verbally committed several weeks ago.

Mark Caviness, a 6-foot-5, 200-pound forward, averaged 13.4 points and 7.4 rebounds per game as a freshman at Indian River Community College in Fort Pierce, Fla., last season.

Playing for a 22-8 team, Caviness shot 52.7 percent from the field overall, including 41 percent from 3-point range, as he made first-team all-conference.

Caviness, a native of Washington, D.C., who can probably also play shooting guard, is averaging about 17 points this season.

"Mark is a very good player and a quality young man," Edgar said. "He's athletic, he has versatility, which I like. He can score in a variety of ways. He can make 3-point shots and can also get to the rim. And he's a good rebounder for his size."

Southeast also still expects a letter of intent from the other player who verbally committed, 6-5 combo guard Martino Brock, a high school senior who plays for Nashville Christian Advancement Academy in Nashville, Tenn.

The week-long early signing period ends Wednesday.

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