Freshman Smith enjoys stellar day in Southeast men's 69-53 loss

Sunday, February 21, 2010
Marland Smith

The Southeast Missouri State men's basketball team got a career performance from freshman guard Marland Smith.

But it was not nearly enough to prevent the Redhawks from suffering their sixth straight loss Saturday.

Host Miami of Ohio built an 11-point halftime lead and coasted to a 69-53 victory in an ESPN BracketBusters game in Oxford, Ohio.

Southeast, which has dropped nine of its last 10 contests, fell to 7-21. Miami improved to 12-15, including an 8-5 Mid-American Conference record.

Smith, who has had an impressive rookie campaign, poured in 28 points for the highest total by a Southeast player this season. He had 14 points in each half.

Smith, whose previous college career high was 19 points, hit 6 of 13 3-pointers. That matched fellow freshman guard Derek Thompson for the most 3-pointers made by a Southeast player this season.

"Marland had an incredible game. He was outstanding from start to finish," Southeast coach Dickey Nutt said.

Despite a 9 for 18 overall shooting performance by Smith, Southeast shot only 32.7 percent from the field (18 for 55).

No other Southeast player reached double figures. Junior forward Jajuan Maxwell had nine points, five rebounds and two blocks. Senior forward LaMont Russell grabbed nine rebounds.

LaQuentin Miles earned his first collegiate start for Southeast, joining Smith and Thompson to give the Redhawks a three-guard freshman lineup.

Antonio Ballard led four Miami players in double figures with 12 points. Miami shot 43.4 percent (23 for 53) and held a 42-31 rebounding advantage.

The Redhawks held two early leads, including 12-10. The contest was tied 14-14 with just more than 11 minutes left in the first half when Miami began to take control.

Miami opened a 35-24 halftime advantage. It was 40-32 when the hosts put the game out of reach with a 22-6 run for a 62-38 lead with 4:10 to play.

"They were very physical and their size wore us down," Nutt said.

Southeast played without junior forward Cameron Butler, who missed seven recent games with a foot problem that flared up Tuesday at Murray State.

Butler is questionable for the Redhawks' final two regular-season games, at home Thursday against Tennessee State and Saturday against Austin Peay.

The Redhawks did regain the services of walk-on sophomore backup forward Rae-Vonn Banks, who was forced to sit out the past four contests due to an issue regarding his tuition for classes.

Southeast, which has suffered eight straight OVC defeats, is ninth in the 10-team league at 3-13, two games behind 5-11 Tennessee State in the race for the eighth and final OVC tournament berth.

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

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