Redhawks find same woes away from OVC

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Southeast men fall 86-82 to Eastern Michigan in a BracketBusters game.

YPSILANTI, Mich. -- Teams mired in month-long slumps find ways to lose, despite what the statistics say.

Southeast Missouri State held Eastern Michigan to one field goal in the last 9 minutes, 38 seconds of the second half. The Redhawks hit five 3-pointers in the final 61 seconds and led 31-21 late in the first half.

Southeast still managed to lose its sixth straight, 86-82 on Saturday afternoon at Eastern Michigan's Convocation Center, during ESPNU's BracketBusters weekend. It was also its 12th loss in 13 games.

Southeast (12-17) shot 58 percent from the field in the first half, holding Eastern Michigan (11-15, 6-7 MAC) to 34 percent.

The Redhawks were getting out on the fast break, Kenard Moore hit long 3-pointers and they pounded the ball inside to Michael Rembert and Will Bogan, exposing the Eagles' lack of size inside.

Then, the Redhawks' efficient offense went in reverse. They couldn't hit a basket, and their season-long problem with turnovers reared its ugly head.

Southeast finished with 19 turnovers.

"Basketball is a game of possessions," Southeast coach Scott Edgar said. "We outrebounded them, but with our turnovers, they had four more possessions than us."

Southeast's lead was trimmed to 35-34 by halftime, as Eastern got hot from the 3-point line, led by senior guard Jarrod Axom. Axom's 15 first-half points kept Eastern close, despite his team's poor shooting.

"Jarrod was tremendous," Eastern coach Charles Ramsey said. "He was cold at Western Michigan, but he put it behind him."

Eastern went on a 29-9 run from the end of the first half to the middle of the second half, and an alley-oop from Eastern guard Carlos Medlock to Will Cooper made it 51-39.

Southeast didn't make a field goal until 12:47, when Jaycen Herring went backdoor for an alley-oop dunk. Southeast went 2-of-14 in the first 15:25 of the second half, but only trailed 68-60 with 3:59 remaining after two fast break layins off Eastern turnovers.

But Axom and Medlock were almost perfect down the stretch. Despite having only one field goal in the final 9:38, Eastern kept Southeast at bay with timely free-throw shooting.

Medlock went 12-of-14 from the line in the last 4:02, and Eastern withstood a barrage of desperate 3-pointers from Southeast in the waning minutes.

Medlock finished with 24 points and six assists. Axom scored a game-high 29 points, including five 3-pointers, and making all eight of his free throws.

"If they missed a free throw, it would've been a different ballgame," Edgar said.

Herring scored a team-high 19 points for Southeast.

Moore, who finished with 18 points, led the 3-point barrage. All his field goals came from behind the arc, and almost all were from 25 feet and beyond.

"He can shoot it from 30-feet plus," Ramsey said. "I told my players, we've got to guard him when he gets off the bus."

The few times in the last two minutes where Southeast got close, Eastern had a man following Moore as soon as he crossed half court and he didn't get any good looks.

"Eastern is a good team. They were on a winning streak [before its last loss]," Edgar said. "We're in a league not rated as high, we came up here and played a pretty competitive game."

Edgar still lamented Southeast's turnovers, while not dwelling on the losing streak.

"It's anxiousness, tenativeness, decision-making," Edgar said. "We have to make better decisions. But I can't change those games before today, and we have a game Thursday."

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