Southeast Missouri State men's basketball team hopes to feast on NAIA opponent

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Southeast Missouri State men's basketball team figures to have little trouble inching closer to the .500 mark today.

Southeast (1-3) begins a two-game homestand with a 7 p.m. tipoff against NAIA Hannibal-LaGrange (2-5).

The only previous meeting between the programs resulted in a 101-52 romp for the Redhawks last season.

"We're worried about ourselves," Southeast coach Dickey Nutt said. "I told our guys it doesn't matter who we're playing, I expect a performance, a great effort, a lot of discipline on the floor. We want to get better."

Last year's matchup took place after Southeast lost its first 10 games.

The Redhawks aren't in nearly that bad a shape this season but could use a win after a tough early schedule that has seen them play two teams from BCS conferences.

Southeast is coming off its only blowout loss, an 86-61 defeat at the hands of Oregon on Sunday. That trip included a myriad of travel complications, including waiting on an airplane in St. Louis for more than three hours Friday due to mechanical problems.

"It was a tough trip for us, but we didn't play well. That's what I was most disappointed in," said Nutt, whose squad returned to Cape Girardeau at about midnight Monday. "We really took a step backward. We have to get that corrected, and we can get that corrected.

"I just felt like we didn't play together as a team, especially when things didn't go well for us. As bad as I hate to say a loss helps us, and it doesn't, but you try to learn from a loss. I think we will."

The Redhawks' other defeats were 83-68 at Missouri and 66-65 at Bradley. The lone victory came during their only home appearance, a 95-60 rout of NAIA Harris-Stowe.

Hannibal-LaGrange, from Hannibal, Mo., went 8-20 a year ago, including 4-10 in the American Midwest Conference. The Trojans are picked to finish last in the AMC.

Southeast should have a much tougher time Saturday, when Miami (Ohio) visits visits for a 3 p.m. contest.

Miami is a solid program out of the Mid-American Conference. The MAC ranks among the nation's better mid-major leagues.

The RedHawks -- the schools share nicknames but Miami uses a capital H -- are 2-1.

Miami opened the season with a 72-67 overtime win over a solid Dayton squad before losing 66-60 at nationally ranked Xavier. The RedHawks beat Division II Saginaw Valley 71-61 on Monday.

The RedHawks went 15-17 last season, including 10-5 in the MAC. They are coached by veteran Charlie Coles, whose 213 career MAC wins are the most in league history.

"That will be a big test, one of those battles," Nutt said. "Even though we're a work in progress, I feel like it's time to bow up and win a game. It's time to win a game of significance."

Southeast and Miami have met once before, a 69-53 Miami home win during an ESPN BracketBusters matchup in 2009-10. This is the return game from that contest.

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