Redhawks drop first two games in tournament

Sunday, November 29, 2009

The Southeast men dropped to 1-5 with losses to St. Bonaventure and Illinois State

The first two games of the Basketball Travelers Classic were not kind to Southeast Missouri State.

Southeast was routed by host Illinois State 93-53 on Saturday night in Normal, Ill., after the Redhawks opened the four-team event with Friday night's 67-44 loss to St. Bonaventure.

The Redhawks (1-5) close out the competition at 1 p.m. today against Norfolk State (1-4).

Southeast, which never led against St. Bonaventure as the Bonnies scored the first 15 points, had a stronger early performance against ISU (5-0).

The Redhawks held leads of 7-2 and 14-8. ISU didn't go ahead for good until a little more than six minutes remained in the first half and was up just 33-24 at the intermission.

But ISU broke the contest open early in the second half and cruised to the 40-point win. The Redbirds outscored Southeast 60-29 in the final period.

"I'm proud of the way our guys played tonight," Southeast coach Dickey Nutt said. "We bounced back and played with a little swagger in the first half. We just couldn't hold the gate in the second half."

Dinma Odiakosa, a 6-foot-8, 240-pound senior forward, led the Redbirds with a career-high 19 points and nine rebounds. He hit 8 of 10 shots.

Senior guard Osiris Eldridge, the Missouri Valley Conference preseason player of the year, also scored 19 points. He hit 6 of 8 shots, including 3 of 4 from 3-point range.

"We played an outstanding basketball team tonight," Nutt said. "They were hitting on all cylinders. It seemed every one of their shots went in during the second half."

Junior college transfer point guard Anthony Allison was Southeast's only double-figure scorer as he had 13 points, the most of his young career with the Redhawks. He hit 5 of 10 shots.

ISU shot a season-best 60.4 percent and outrebounded Southeast 41-22.

Southeast shot 38.5 percent and had 21 turnovers. The Redhawks did improve their free-throw shooting from the previous night, hitting 10 of 11 (90.9 percent).

St. Bonaventure romps

Southeast fell behind 15-0 and never threatened the Bonnies (4-1).

Andrew Nicholson, a 6-foot-9 sophomore forward who was last season's Atlantic 10 Conference rookie of the year, led the Bonnies with 15 points and 12 rebounds.

The Redhawks were paced offensively by sophomore wing Kajuan Watson, who scored 12 points off the bench as he hit 5 of 7 shots. Nine of the points came in the second half.

Watson, a junior college transfer, recorded the first double-figure scoring performance of his young Southeast career.

Junior college transfer forward Eric McCrary also had the best offensive performance of his rookie season at Southeast with eight points, all in the second half. McCrary made 3 of 4 shots, including both of his 3-point attempts.

No other Southeast player scored more than five points.

Southeast shot just 32.1 percent and had 20 turnovers. The Redhawks also struggled from the free-throw line, making only 6 of 16 (37.5 percent).

Meanwhile, St. Bonaventure shot 54.5 percent and held a 37-27 rebounding edge.

"St. Bonaventure did a good job of shutting off the perimeter and we fell behind early," Nutt said. "If you had to pick our worst performance of the year, this had to be it."

St. Bonaventure kept Southeast off the scoreboard for the first 9 minutes, 42 second of the game and built a 32-14 halftime lead.

The Bonnies led by as many as 32 points in the second half before coasting to the victory.

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