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Cold shooting dooms Southeast
As far as shooting goes, Southeast Missouri State men's basketball has been an on-again, off-again team this season.
The cold-shooting Redhawks showed up Saturday in the fifth-place game of the Las Vegas Invitational.
Southeast made just 36.5 percent of its field-goal attempts (19 of 52) and went a woeful 3 of 23 from 3-point range (13 percent).
That allowed Oakland (Mich.) to build a substantial early lead and stay in comfortable control most of the way during an 81-63 victory.
Southeast fell to 2-4 while Oakland improved to 3-4.
"The difference is the shots we missed from the 3-point line," said Southeast acting coach Zac Roman, whose squad finished sixth in the eight-team tournament. "A team like Oakland that plays zone the whole time can get you taking some 3s you normally wouldn't take."
Southeast shot 50 percent and made 4 of 9 from beyond the arc during Friday's game against Longwood in Las Vegas. The Redhawks won that contest 81-77.
That came after Tuesday's contest at Iowa that featured Southeast shooting 22.4 percent and missing all 11 of its 3-pointers. The Redhawks lost 75-41.
While Southeast struggled offensively Saturday, the Grizzlies thrived as they shot 53.4 percent (31 of 58) and made 8 of 17 3-pointers (47.1 percent).
The Grizzlies shot a sizzling 66.7 percent in the second half, hitting 16 of 24.
Oakland, a perennial contender in the Summit League, used a 10-0 run to build a 21-9 lead midway through the first half.
Southeast fought an uphill battle the rest of the way and never seriously threatened the Grizzlies' advantage.
"Oakland has a very good team, big and physical," Roman said. "They're going to finish high in their league. I thought it was a good test for us."
The Redhawks fell behind by 15 points in the first half and trailed 36-23 at the intermission.
Southeast stayed within relative striking distance for much of the second half and got within 48-40 on a basket and free throw by junior forward Calvin Williams with just under 12 minutes to play.
The Redhawks pulled no closer, although they cut the deficit to nine points several times, including 62-53 with a little more than five minutes left.
Oakland answered with five straight points and pulled away down the stretch.
"We just couldn't get a shot to go down and get over the hump to put pressure on them," Roman said.
Williams scored 17 points and grabbed eight rebounds to lead the Redhawks. He had 14 second-half points after seeing his first-half playing time limited due to foul trouble.
That came after Williams -- at 6 foot 9 Southeast's tallest player -- had a career-high 22 points and 11 rebounds against Longwood.
Senior forward Jaycen Herring matched Williams with 17 points.
"Calvin and Jaycen both had good games," Roman said.
Senior guard Kenard Moore scored 15 points, but struggled with his shooting.
Moore, who missed all seven of his 3-point attempts at Iowa but bounced back to hit 4 of 6 from beyond the arc against Longwood, made just 2 of 13 from long range Saturday.
"Kenard had quite a few open looks, he just couldn't get a shot to fall," Roman said. "He was probably shooting a little deeper than I would have liked, but he usually makes that shot.
"When Kenard's not making shots, we need to have somebody else step up."
Junior forward LaMont Russell added 10 points and seven rebounds for the Redhawks.
Oakland was led by senior guard Erik Kangas with 18 points, all coming on 3-pointers as he made 6 of 11.
Despite the 18-point loss, Roman came away feeling good about several areas of the Redhawks' play.
Southeast continued its strong free-throw shooting by making 22 of 27 (81.5 percent). The Redhawks are hitting 76.6 percent from the stripe this season.
The Redhawks also battled well on the boards against the much bigger Grizzlies -- who featured four players 6-9 or taller -- as Southeast was outrebounded just 35-33.
"There were a lot of positives -- our free-throw shooting, we rebounded with them," Roman said. "We would have loved to go 2-0 [in Las Vegas], but overall I thought we played well out here. I think we're growing as a team."
Southeast begins Ohio Valley Conference play Thursday at home against two-time defending regular-season champion Austin Peay.
"Now we just have to get ready for the OVC," Roman said.