Southeast gathers momentum

Sunday, January 2, 2005

Southeast Missouri State coach Gary Garner feared a letdown after Wednesday's big win at St. Louis University.

And while Southeast might not have been in peak form Saturday night, it didn't show up on the scoreboard during a 95-68 rout of Lincoln University.

An announced crowd of 2,023 at the Show Me Center saw Southeast improve to 5-6 with its second straight victory. The Division II Blue Tigers from Jefferson City, Mo., fell to 1-10.

"Playing a Division II team, you're not going to have as much energy as when you're playing a good Division I team," Garner said. "But overall, we played pretty good and we took care of business."

Senior forward Dainmon Gonner led Southeast with 20 points. He also had four assists and five steals.

Reggie Golson, another senior forward, scored 19 points, grabbed 10 rebounds and blocked five shots. Golson was eight of 14 from the field.

"We let down for about five minutes in the game, but overall I thought we came out strong," Golson said.

Senior guard Derek Winans had 19 points in his second straight impressive performance, as he continues to round into former after missing time with a stress fracture in his left leg. Winans hit five of seven shots and eight of nine free throws while adding three assists.

"It seems like everybody is getting healthy, and we're coming on," Winans said.

A host of other Southeast players also had a hand in the romp, as all 10 of Garner's healthy players saw at least 10 minutes of action.

"A game like this is good to get everybody some playing time," Garner said.

Senior guard Brett Hale chipped in with nine points, seven rebounds and three assists, while sophomore guard Terrick Willoughby added eight points as he hit two of three 3-pointers.

"We came out and took care of business," Willoughby said.

Junior guard Ryan Belcher scored all seven of his points in the first half and did not miss a shot, going two for two from the floor and three for three from the line.

Senior guard Mike Nelke hit two of four 3-pointers and scored six points; junior center Waylon Francis had a perfect shooting night, making his only field-goal attempt and both of his free throws for four points; sophomore forward Cody Lewis hit a 3-pointer for his first points of the season; and freshman point guard Paul Paradoski added two assists.

"It was nice that everybody got to play a lot," Golson said.

Lincoln senior guard D.J. Hogue hit six of 11 3-pointers and had a game-high 25 points.

Southeast scored the game's first nine points and appeared to be on the way to a big-time blowout as it led 38-13 late in the opening half.

But Lincoln held firm and scored the final 12 points of the period to pull within 40-28 at halftime.

The Tigers hit consecutive 3-pointers to begin the second half, completing an overall 18-0 run. All of a sudden Southeast's lead was down to 40-34.

Southeast answered with seven straight points -- Golson scored inside, Willoughby hit a 3-pointer and Brett Hale got a layup -- to regain control at 47-34.

Lincoln never got closer than 11 points the rest of the way, as Southeast did ultimately post a big-time blowout, its biggest lead being 35 points.

"The only part I was kind of disappointed in was the last few minutes of the first half," Garner said. "But we came out strong and we finished strong."

Southeast shot 51.6 percent (32 of 62), was also strong from the line at 80 percent (24 of 30) after struggling with its free throws most of the season. Southeast had only seven turnovers and held Lincoln to 41.8 percent shooting (23 of 55), although the Tigers made 12 of 23 3-pointers.

"We started out really well and kind of let down at the end of the first half, but we picked up our intensity again in the second half," Winans said.

Now Southeast will turn its attention to Ohio Valley Conference play, which begins Thursday at defending champion Austin Peay.

"We've won two in a row now and we've got good momentum going into conference," Willoughby said.

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