Morehead socks Southeast men

Sunday, February 14, 2010
Southeast Missouri State's Marland Smith races past Morehead State defender Demonte Harper during the first half Saturday at the Show Me Center. (TIM BRUMITT)

Southeast Missouri State boasted the No. 1 highlight in Saturday night's men's basketball game.

But the host Redhawks didn't have nearly enough highlights to upset the Ohio Valley Conference's second-place team.

Defending OVC tournament champion Morehead State (18-8, 12-3) scored the first 16 points of the contest and romped 73-54.

The Redhawks (7-19, 3-12) have lost seven straight OVC games while dropping 10 of their past 12 contests overall.

Southeast fell to ninth in the 10-team OVC, one-half game behind eighth-place Tennessee State. The top eight finishers make the conference tournament.

Southeast Missouri State's Cameron Butler is fouled by Morehead State's Kenneth Faried during the first half Saturday night at the Show Me Center. (TIM BRUMITT)

"We faced a monster of a basketball team," first-year Southeast coach Dickey Nutt said. "I was proud of our effort. We really competed."

While the Eagles had their way, what had the Show Me Center buzzing the most was a second-half play by rapidly improving Southeast freshman guard LaQuentin Miles.

The 6-foot-5 Miles, seeing significant action at the point for the second straight game, grabbed a defensive rebound, went the length of the court and rose up for a one-handed dunk over MSU junior guard Demonte Harper.

Miles was fouled by Harper and completed the three-point play with 11 minutes, 50 seconds left. It only cut MSU's lead to 50-37 but had the Show Me Center rocking.

"Of all the years I've been in coaching, that's as good as it gets," Nutt said. "That was an impressive play."

Asked what he was thinking on the play, the soft-spoken Miles said: "Just attack the rim like coach asked us to. I seen he [Harper] was kind of under the goal. I just took it."

Miles matched his season high with seven points. He added four rebounds and two assists.

"I thought LaQuentin once again gave us a spark off the bench," Nutt said.

Junior forward Cameron Butler led Southeast with 12 points. Junior guard Anthony Allison added 11 points.

Senior forward Maze Stallworth paced MSU with 23 points. He hit 6 of 8 3-pointers as the Eagles made 11 of 20 3-pointers (55 percent). They entered shooting 35 percent from beyond the arc.

The Eagles got their usual strong game from 6-8 junior center Kenneth Faried, the nation's top rebounder.

Faried had his 19th double-double of the season with 15 points and 12 boards. He was averaging 17.2 points and 13.4 rebounds.

After falling behind 16-0, Southeast cut the deficit to seven points twice late in the first half before trailing 37-26 at the break.

MSU led by double figures the entire second half and steadily pulled away.

"We have to stop digging ourselves a hole," Butler said. "Against a team like Morehead, it's hard to get out of it."

The Eagles shot 56.1 percent from the field (23 of 41), compared to 37.8 percent for Southeast (17 of 45). The Redhawks made 6 of 19 3-pointers (31.6 percent).

"It's hard to win shooting 37 percent," Nutt said. "We dug ourselves a hole once again."

MSU coach Donnie Tyndall was pleased with the way his squad bounced back from Thursday's 76-75 loss at Eastern Illinois.

The Eagles led by a point with 1 second left when a player who had just come up with a steal called a timeout while on the floor. But MSU was out of timeouts and was hit with a technical foul. Eastern Illinois made both free throws.

"I've got a tough-minded group of young men," Tyndall said.

Tyndall said he can empathise with what Nutt is going through right now at Southeast. Tyndall also took over one of the nation's worst programs but three years later -- last season -- had MSU in the NCAA tournament.

"It just takes time," Tyndall said. "Coach Nutt will get good players. He's gotten good players before."

Southeast returns to action Tuesday at Murray State (24-3, 15-0), which already has clinched at least a share of the OVC regular-season title.

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