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Redhawks get OVC break with BracketBuster

Friday, February 19, 2010

The Southeast Missouri State men's basketball team takes a break from Ohio Valley Conference play Saturday.

Southeast will be in Oxford, Ohio, for a matchup with the Miami RedHawks in the annual ESPN BracketBusters series. The tipoff is set for 1:30 p.m.

Southeast (7-20, 3-13) has lost eight straight OVC games while dropping 11 of its past 13 contests overall.

The ninth-place Redhawks, who have two league contests left, trail eighth-place Tennessee State by two games in the race for the eighth and final OVC tournament berth.

Southeast finishes the regular season next week with home games against Tennessee State on Thursday and Austin Peay on Saturday.

The Redhawks must win both, and have Tennessee State lose at Eastern Illinois in its other remaining league contest, to make the OVC tournament.

"There's still a lot to be decided," Southeast coach Dickey Nutt said.

First Southeast will try to get back in the win column against the Miami RedHawks, who are just 11-15 overall but 8-5 in the Mid-American Conference. They are tied for third in the MAC East Division.

"Their program has been good over the years," Nutt said. "We just want to go compete. I need to see that fight."

Miami is led offensively by 6-foot-2 senior guard Kenny Hayes, who averages 14.5 points per game.

Julian Mavunga, a 6-8, 245-pound sophomore forward, is tied for second on the squad in scoring (9.6) and leads in rebounding (6.7).

Nutt said there is a chance Southeast will be without junior forward Cameron Butler for the game.

Butler played 15 first-half minutes during Tuesday's loss at Murray State, but sat on the bench the entire second half as a foot problem that caused him to miss seven recent games flared up.

"Cameron's probably playing at 50 percent. I hate to see that for him," Nutt said.

Nutt said it might be wise to allow Butler more rest prior to next week's final push to make the OVC tournament.

"We'll talk to the trainers and decide about that," Nutt said.

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