Redhawks get pesky, but lose seventh straight

Friday, January 16, 2009

The Kenard Moore show almost was enough to give Southeast Missouri State a rare victory.

Almost, but not quite.

Moore, the Redhawks' senior guard, matched his career high with 31 points Thursday night.

But visiting Morehead State was able to withstand every Moore-led charge as the surging Eagles held on for a 73-67 victory.

"Kenard carried us on his back," Southeast senior forward Jaycen Herring said.

Southeast, playing its second consecutive game without junior center Calvin Williams -- among the Ohio Valley Conference's top scorers, rebounders and shot-blockers -- suffered its seventh consecutive loss.

The undermanned Redhawks, again competing with just seven scholarship players, fell to 3-15 overall and a last-place 0-7 in the OVC.

But rarely has Southeast's effort and desire been questioned this season, and there was nothing wrong in that area Thursday.

"It's hard to explain the feeling," Herring said of the mounting defeats. "We battle night in and night out."

After being beaten decisively on the first two legs of a four-game homestand -- by 20 points against Eastern Illinois and 14 points against Tennessee-Martin -- Southeast made OVC leader MSU sweat until the very end.

"We're playing hard," Moore said. "We just couldn't pull it off."

Through no fault of Moore's, who also scored 31 points during a loss at Kansas State this season.

Moore did a little bit of everything for the Redhawks, adding three assists and four steals against no turnovers in 39 minutes.

"Kenard played an amazing game," Southeast acting coach Zac Roman said. "You can't ask the kid to do much more."

Moore, a natural shooting guard, has been asked to run the point at various times this season, especially lately.

"I do whatever it takes to help the team," Moore said.

Moore is known for his long-range shooting, and he did hit a few 3-pointers early in Thursday's contest.

But Moore finished 4 of 12 from beyond the arc. However, he was 9 of 10 on 2-point baskets, scoring on a variety of drives and mid-range jumpers.

"I've been working on that all summer," Moore said of his game inside the arc. "I realize people in the conference know I can shoot. I have to do other things to get myself open."

Herring added 18 points for the Redhawks, but no other Southeast player scored more than six points.

The Redhawks sorely missed Williams, averaging 17 points and 7.7 rebounds.

Perhaps Southeast missed the 6-foot-9 Williams -- who Roman thought would be available -- the most on defense.

Without their big man on the floor, the Redhawks had no answer for 6-8 sophomore center Kenneth Faried, who entered the night averaging a double-double with 12.3 points and 11.9 rebounds.

Faried, the nation's sixth-leading rebounder, had his 10th double-double of the season with 14 points and 14 boards.

"Other than Calvin, we're really undersized in the post," Herring said. "It's tough to match up."

Of Williams, Roman said: "I thought we would have him tonight. He tried to do some things at shootaround [earlier in the day], but he said it was just too painful."

While Southeast continues to reel, the Eagles (9-9, 6-1) continue to surge.

MSU has won six of its last seven games and took sole possession of first place in the OVC, one-half game ahead of Austin Peay, which was idle Thursday.

But the Redhawks made the Eagles work for it.

Although MSU led 35-29 at halftime and never trailed in the second half, the Eagles could not put away Southeast.

Trailing by 12 points twice early in the final period, Southeast got within four points three times, the last at 67-63 with just under 2 minutes remaining.

Southeast missed on several chances to draw closer, and MSU hit all six of its free throws in the last 42 seconds to close out things.

"I thought this was the one we were going to get," Roman said. "The effort was there."

The Redhawks conclude their homestand Saturday night against Eastern Kentucky.

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