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Kangaroos hop past Southeast men's basketball team
The Southeast Missouri State men's basketball team held a narrow halftime lead for the second game in a row.
But a squad used hot shooting on its home floor to pull away from the Redhawks for the second straight contest.
Southeast fell to 0-3 with Saturday night's 70-62 loss at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, which improved to 3-0.
All of the Redhawks' defeats have come on the road.
"I told the team life on the road is not easy," Southeast coach Dickey Nutt said.
Southeast led Florida Gulf Coast by a point at halftime Tuesday before falling 89-78.
The Redhawks were ahead of UMKC 29-27 at the break but the Kangaroos took control in the second half.
"We've led these last two games at halftime and not been able to hold it. That goes to a lack of maturity and a lack of confidence," Nutt said. "We're disappointed. We felt like we could win this game."
UMKC shot 50 percent from the field (23 of 46), including 54.5 percent in the second half (12 of 22). That came after Florida Gulf blistered the nets for 55.9 percent.
Nutt actually thought the Redhawks' defense improved Saturday.
"Our defense was a little bit better but still not good enough," Nutt said. "They shot the ball very well in the second half."
Southeast shot just 37.3 percent (22 of 59) and made only 4 of 14 3-pointers (28.6 percent) compared to 7 of 15 (46.7 percent) for the Kangaroos.
"We've just got to hit some shots," Nutt said.
The Redhawks had only nine turnovers while UMKC had 15. The Kangaroos had a 31-29 rebounding advantage.
Senior guard Anthony Allison led Southeast with 14 points although he hit just 4 of 13 from the field.
Southeast's other starting shooting guard, sophomore Marland Smith, was just 3 of 14 from the floor.
Junior forward Leon Powell, battling foul trouble much of the night, had 13 points and five rebounds.
Powell, the top signee from Nutt's first recruiting class last year who missed the season with a knee injury, was averaging 18.5 points and 12 rebounds through the first two games.
"Having Leon in foul trouble hurt us," Nutt said.
Redshirt freshman point guard Lucas Nutt contributed nine points, three rebounds, three assists and two steals without a turnover.
Junior guard Nick Niemczyk, whose surgically repaired knee still is bothering him although he continues to play, hit 2 of 4 from 3-point range and scored eight points.
Nutt said a recent MRI showed some problems with Niemczyk's knee and there is a chance he might have to sit out a week or so.
The Redhawks played without senior forward Cameron Butler, who has problems with both feet that Nutt fears could keep him out for the rest of the season and end his career.
"They're going to take another look at him in the next 24 hours," Nutt said. "It doesn't look good."
Senior guard Bakari Lewis came off the bench to pace the Kangaroos with 21 points. He connected on 3 of 4 from beyond the arc.
Senior forward Jay Cousinard added 14 points for UMKC. He was averaging 20.5 points through two games.
The Redhawks started strong and built an early 11-6 lead.
UMKC came back to go ahead by five points twice before Niemczyk's 3-pointer put Southeast up 29-27 at the break.
It was 31-31 early in the second half when UMKC began to take charge. The Kangaroos gradually opened a 53-42 lead with a little more than eight minutes left.
Southeast got no closer than eight points and the Kangaroos' biggest advantage was 13 points twice.
"I didn't feel like the second half we played very well," Nutt said.
The Redhawks play their first home game Monday when Grambling State visits the Show Me Center for a 7 p.m. tipoff.
"We've certainly got a long way to go. We're still trying to find ourselves," Nutt said. "We're low on confidence right now. Hopefully we can get home and have some success."