Redhawks unfazed by coach Edgar's absence

Sunday, January 27, 2008
Southeast's Roderick Pearson brought the ball down court during Saturday's game at Murray State. (Aaron Eisenhauer)

The players said they ignored the absence of their suspended leader.

MURRAY, Ky. -- Not that the Southeast Missouri State men's basketball team wants to play without its head coach every game.

But the Redhawks said once Saturday's contest at Murray State began, they didn't focus much on the fact Scott Edgar wasn't on their bench.

Edgar served an Ohio Valley Conference-mandated one-game suspension for his post-game radio show tirade against the officials following Thursday's home loss to Morehead State, Southeast's fifth straight defeat.

"I really wasn't paying attention that coach Edgar wasn't there," junior wing Jaycen Herring said. "We were just trying to get a win."

The Redhawks nearly snapped their losing streak as they played one of their best overall games of the season before falling short 86-85.

Herring and sophomore point guard Roderick Pearson credited Southeast's three assistant coaches -- Zac Roman, Ronnie Dean and Rodney Hamilton -- for handling things well.

"All three did a good job. They made the right decisions," Pearson said.

Roman was designated as the lead coach Saturday because he was the scout coach for the Racers and helped develop the game plan.

"They coached their hearts out and we played our hearts out," Herring said. "We just came up short."

The university issued a statement Friday that Edgar would watch Saturday's nationally televised game in Cape Girardeau.

But Roman said Edgar drove to Murray, Ky., on his own Friday and watched the contest at the team motel.

Roman, who handled the post-game interview duties, said he had not yet spoken with Edgar, but expected to shortly.

Pearson laments late play

Pearson had a solid game with 11 points and seven assists against four turnovers in 34 minutes.

But he regretted two late plays that had he executed better, might have allowed Southeast to prevail.

With 31 second left and the Redhawks leading 85-82, Pearson -- shooting 73.6 percent from the free-throw line -- missed the front end of a 1-and-1.

After the Racers pulled within 85-84, Pearson lost control of a long pass along the sideline near mid-court. The ball went out of bounds with 17 seconds remaining. Murray State scored the decisive points on the following possession.

"Those are probably the two plays that hurt me the most," Pearson said. "But everything happens for a reason."

National audience

Pearson said playing on national television on ESPN2 pumped up the team.

"It was a big plus for everybody," Pearson said.

The Redhawks will have their second straight shot at national TV when they host defending OVC regular-season champion and current league leader Austin Peay on Tuesday night.

That contest will be shown on ESPNU.

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