Ball drops on Redhawks, 2008

Friday, January 2, 2009
FRED LYNCH ~ flynch@semissourian.com
Southeast Missouri State's Calvin Williams shoots over Southern Illinois-Edwardsville's Mark Yelovich, left, and Nikola Bundalo during the second half Wednesday at the Show Me Center.

Shorthanded Southeast Missouri State was proud of its gritty second-half comeback.

But the Redhawks wound up having nothing to show for it.

Southern Illinois-Edwardsville hit a 3-point basket with 2.9 seconds remaining to stun Southeast 70-69.

That came after the Redhawks erased a 13-point deficit midway through the second half of their men's basketball game Wednesday.

"Overall we played hard. It was a good comeback," junior center Calvin Williams said. "But it was pretty much a heartbreaker."

FRED LYNCH ~ flynch@semissourian.com
Southeast Missouri State's Jaycen Herring takes a shot as Southern Illinois-Edwardsville's Aamir McCleary defends during the second half Wednesday at the Show Me Center.

Wednesday night's crowd at the Show Me Center was announced at 1,747, but there probably were only about 500 fans in the stands.

They saw an exciting New Year's Eve contest between future Ohio Valley Conference rivals struggling to pick up wins.

SIU-E (4-11), a first-year Division I program, was admitted to the OVC in July. The Cougars will begin play in the conference in the 2011-12 season.

Southeast (3-10) had only nine scholarship players to begin with, and one of them, junior guard Jimmy Drew, has not yet played this season because of a foot injury.

Junior wing Johnny Hill also missed Wednesday's game with a foot injury, meaning the Redhawks had only seven available players.

FRED LYNCH ~ flynch@semissourian.com
Southeast Missouri State acting coach Zac Roman shouts to his players during Wednesday's game against Southern Illinois-Edwardsville at the Show Me Center.

"We've only got seven players. We get tired," senior guard Kenard Moore said. "We're playing as hard as we can."

Williams agreed, but he added: "Nobody is going to baby us because we only have six or seven players. We just have to basically suck it up."

Southeast led the entire first half -- three times by 11 points -- before the Cougars cut the deficit to 32-29 at the break.

SIU-E came out on fire in the second half, and built a 56-43 advantage with about 10 minutes remaining.

Then it was the Redhawks' turn to surge as they used an 18-5 spurt to pull into a 61-61 tie.

FRED LYNCH ~ flynch@semissourian.com
Southeast Missouri State coach Zac Roman shouts to his players in the game with Southern Illinois-Edwardsville Wednesday at the Show Me Center.

A Williams follow shot with 3:59 left put Southeast up 65-63, and the Redhawks looked to be in solid shape when Moore's fast-break dunk at the 1:14 mark made it 69-65.

SIU-E answered with a basket, and then Southeast senior forward Jaycen Herring was stripped while attempting a move toward the goal with about 25 seconds to go.

Williams prevented SIU-E from a certain tie as he fouled Nikola Bundalo on a dunk attempt with 8.6 seconds left.

Bundalo missed both free throws -- the second perhaps intentionally.

"He missed it on purpose. I could hear them talking," Moore said.

FRED LYNCH ~ flynch@semissourian.com
Southeast Missouri State's Jaycen Herring takes a shot as Southern Illinois-Edwardsville's Aamir McCleary defends during the second half Wednesday at the Show Me Center.

But SIU-E came up with the rebound and got the ball to junior guard Aamir McCleary, whose only 3-point attempt of the night swished home from the left corner with 2.9 seconds remaining.

"I figured he would miss [the free throw] on purpose," Herring said. "Right place at the right time and he [McCleary] just made the shot."

A long inbound pass from sophomore forward Jajuan Maxwell to Moore near mid-court was a bit too high and the Cougars intercepted it then dribbled out the clock.

"We started off good, then they started making plays," Herring said. "We battled back, but this is one we had to get. We can't let it slip away."

Williams led Southeast with 22 points and nine rebounds.

Moore had 19 points and a career-high eight rebounds, while Herring added 13 points.

Senior guard John Edmison paced the Cougars with 19 points. Freshman forward Mark Yelovich added 14.

"It was a very good effort on the comeback," Southeast acting coach Zac Roman said. "Tough loss. ... You have to win that one.

"We had a chance to finish them off. We didn't do it."

Southeast, 0-2 in the OVC, resumes league play Saturday at Tennessee Tech.

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