Golden Hurricane wreak havoc

Sunday, December 23, 2007
Tulsa's Ben Uzoh put up a shot past Southeast Missouri State's Mike Rembert during their game Saturday in Tulsa, Okla. (MICHAEL WYKE ~ Tulsa World)

The undermanned Redhawks saw their winning streak snapped.

TULSA, Okla. -- Southeast Missouri State entered as a decided underdog as it finished a grueling, weeklong road trip and faced a team from a much higher-rated league.

Throw in that the Redhawks were short-handed, and the task appeared even more insurmountable.

Form held in a big way Saturday as Tulsa scored 20 of the first 22 points and steamrolled Southeast 89-51.

"The odds were definitely stacked against us," senior center Mike Rembert said.

Glenn Andrews passed around Southeast Missouri State's Johnny Hill during their game Saturday in Tulsa, Okla. (MICHAEL WYKE ~ Tulsa World)

Tulsa, a Conference USA squad that won 20 games last year, improved to 6-4 with its fourth straight win. The Golden Hurricane have not yet played a league game.

Southeast fell to 8-5 as it had a four-game winning streak snapped. The Redhawks lead the Ohio Valley Conference at 4-0.

"You can't take anything away from Tulsa," senior forward Brandon Foust said. "They hit a lot of shots."

The Redhawks arrived in Tulsa late Friday afternoon after about nine hours spent on a bus, plane or in an airport.

And that was after Southeast already had played two OVC games in Alabama -- Tuesday at Samford and Thursday at Jacksonville State.

Tulsa's Ben Uzoh drove around Southeast Missouri State's Kendal Deason during their game Saturday in Tulsa, Okla. (MICHAEL WYKE ~ Tulsa World)

On top of that, there were the personnel issues.

Leading scorer Jaycen Herring (virus) and starting wing David Johnson (ankle) were on the bench in street clothes while backup center Will Bogan -- who had a team-high 17 points at Jacksonville State -- was back home attending his grandfather's funeral.

"It was tough with all the travel and missing some players," Rembert said.

Still, Rembert agreed with Foust that Tulsa, which came out on fire, deserved plenty of praise.

"It seemed like they couldn't miss from outside," Rembert said. "They've got a good team."

Tulsa bolted to a 20-2 lead less than 7 minutes into the contest. The Golden Hurricane hit six of their first nine 3-point attempts.

The Golden Hurricane's biggest first-half advantage was 21 points, and it was 45-27 at the intermission.

Southeast got within 13 points early in the second half, but Tulsa pulled away again to turn it into a blowout.

"I think we ran out of gas in the second half," Foust said. "But Tulsa played a good game."

Foust led the Redhawks with 19 points, tying a season high. He added a season-high 10 rebounds and blocked three shots.

Sophomore point guard Roderick Pearson added 12 points, while Rembert had 11 points.

Tulsa was paced by sophomore guard Ben Uzoh with 18 points.

The Golden Hurricane hit 13-of-24 3-pointers, shot 50.8 percent from the field overall and outrebounded Southeast 47-29.

Southeast didn't help itself with 36.2-percent shooting, and the Redhawks also struggled from the free-throw line (6-of-18).

"We didn't have three crucial pieces to our program, and I know our guys were physically and mentally worn out," Southeast coach Scott Edgar said. "But Tulsa is a good team. They jumped on us early and carried that momentum."

Still, as the Redhawks prepared to bus back to Cape Girardeau, Edgar and his players could find little fault in the road trip that began early Monday morning.

Southeast accomplished its primary goal, which was winning both its league games to improve to 4-0 in the OVC for the first time since the 1999-2000 NCAA tournament season.

"We got what we wanted on this road trip," Rembert said.

The Southeast players will now have a few days off for Christmas before they return to practice in preparation for a Dec. 30 nonconference home game against Central Methodist.

OVC play resumes for the Redhawks on Jan. 2 at home against defending league tournament champion Eastern Kentucky.

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