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Southeast men try to escape downward spiral
Once in first place, Redhawks find themselves tied for eighth place.
RICHMOND, Ky. -- The Southeast Missouri State men's basketball team's funk rolled on Thursday night at the hands of a hot Morehead State squad.
The Redhawks go up against another team on fire today as they close out a two-game road trip with a 6 p.m. tipoff against Eastern Kentucky.
"Morehead State is playing really well, and so is Eastern Kentucky," Southeast coach Scott Edgar said. "We're seeing two hot teams this week."
Southeast saw Morehead State score 14 of the game's final 16 points to break away from a tie with under 4 minutes remaining and win 75-63.
The Redhawks (12-13, 7-8) suffered their eighth loss in nine games as they dipped into an eighth-place tie in the 11-team Ohio Valley Conference.
Only the top eight squads make the OVC tournament.
While Morehead State has won eight of nine, EKU (12-10, 9-5) has posted four straight victories, including Thursday's impressive 60-47 home triumph over Murray State.
EKU and Morehead State are tied for third in the OVC, just one-half game behind Murray State.
"They're playing really good, and they're fighting to get a home game for the tournament," Edgar said of the Colonels.
The top four finishers in the conference earn first-round home dates for the league tournament.
The Redhawks also are fighting a variety of health issues.
Senior forward Brandon Foust, Southeast's top rebounder and No. 2 scorer, suffered a season-ending knee injury at Austin Peay on Jan. 12. He has missed the last seven games.
Sophomore guard Jimmy Drew, statistically Southeast's top 3-point shooter, has missed the past four games with a foot injury and remains day-to-day.
Late in the first half of Thursday's contest, junior forward Jaycen Herring sprained an ankle while attempting to block a shot.
Herring, Southeast's leading scorer, continued to play, but he noticeably limped and finished with only seven points, which is eight below his average during conference games. He is questionable for today.
"We have to see if Jaycen can get healthy," Edgar said. "It's a short turnaround. I'm sure he'll be stiff."
Southeast beat EKU 66-55 on Jan. 2 in Cape Girardeau, which was the fifth of six consecutive wins by the Redhawks to start their conference schedule.
The defending OVC tournament champion Colonels played that game without sophomore guard Adam Leonard, last season's co-OVC freshman of the year, who was sick.
Leonard is EKU's third-leading scorer with an 11.7 average, and he is a dangerous 3-point shooter at 40 percent.
EKU's leading scorer is junior guard Mike Rose with a 15.2 average, while 6-foot-8 senior center Darnell Dialls averages 12.1 points and 6.2 rebounds.
"We beat them before, but it was at home," junior guard Kenard Moore said. "It's a different story on the road."
* Foust was scheduled to undergo knee surgery Friday