Southeast Missouri State men's basketball team has more problems with Arkansas State

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Southeast men fell 79-63, dropping Nutt to 0-3 against his former school

JONESBORO, Ark. -- Southeast Missouri State men's basketball coach Dickey Nutt had not been to the Convocation Center since 2008, his last year at Arkansas State.

It would be understandable if Nutt didn't want to go back any time soon.

Nutt, who spent 21 seasons at ASU -- eight as an assistant and 13 as coach -- was treated rudely by his former team Tuesday night.

The Red Wolves cranked up their previously dormant offense, scoring a season-high point total and routing the Redhawks 79-63.

"We're disappointed with our performance. I didn't feel like we played very well at all," Nutt said. "I give them credit. They're a good team. They could beat a lot of teams tonight."

An announced crowd of 2,788, which included a fair share of Southeast fans from Cape Girardeau and Nutt followers from Jonesboro, saw ASU improve to 2-4 while dropping Southeast to 3-4.

"It's disappointing," said Southeast sophomore point guard Lucas Nutt, the coach's son who grew up in Jonesboro and spent many days at the Convocation Center. "For whatever reason, we just couldn't stop them. Our defense was the worst it's been all year."

ASU posted its fifth consecutive victory in the series. Dickey Nutt is 0-3 against the Red Wolves since taking over at Southeast. ASU won at the Show Me Center each of the past two seasons. Tuesday's matchup ended a four-year contract between the programs.

The defending Sun Belt Conference West Division champion Red Wolves, who are favored to repeat, were averaging 50.4 points. They were shooting 36.2 percent, including 33.9 percent from 3-point range.

That changed against Southeast, which had struggled defensively before Saturday's strong performance in an upset win over Miami of Ohio.

"That's the best we've played for as close to 40 minutes this year," ASU coach John Brady said.

ASU blistered the nets at 55.1 percent (27 of 49) and made 6 of 8 from beyond the arc for 75 percent. The Red Wolves hit all four of their first-half 3-pointers to lead 44-29 at the intermission.

"Maybe we celebrated Saturday's win too much and didn't come here ready to play," Southeast junior guard Nick Niemczyk said. "They just absolutely killed us. You have to give them credit. They knocked down some shots, but our defense was bad at times."

Ed Townsel was Southeast's major nemesis. The sophomore guard was averaging 3.8 points and had scored 19 points all season.

Townsel matched his career high of 13 points with 6 minutes, 25 seconds left in the first half when his jumper put up ASU 31-19.

Townsel finished with 20 points. He hit his first four 3-pointers before missing two late.

"I guess it was his night," Lucas Nutt said.

Five ASU players scored in double figures.

"Tonight we had no answer. We just didn't guard," coach Nutt said. "I think they hit a lot of open shots. I give them credit."

Southeast, which entered the night 17th nationally in field-goal shooting at 50 percent, hit a respectable 46.3 percent (25 of 54). The Redhawks made 6 of 15 3-pointers (40 percent).

But the Redhawks were outrebounded 35-26 and made just 7 of 15 free throws. The Red Wolves made 19 of 26 free throws.

"We won the rebounding battle, which was big for us to do," Brady said.

Lucas Nutt led Southeast with 13 points. He hit 3 of 5 3-pointers, all in the first half.

Senior forward Leon Powell, who leads the nation in field-goal percentage after finishing first last year, scored 12 points on 6 of 8 shooting.

Niemczyk scored 12 points but only two in the first half, both on free throws. He made 2 of 5 from beyond the arc.

Sophomore forward Tyler Stone added 10 points for Southeast.

The Redhawks went up 7-2 early, but ASU's 9-0 run put the Red Wolves ahead to stay just three minutes into the contest.

ASU led by at least 10 points for all but a few of the last 26 minutes. It was ahead by at least 15 points for the final 13 minutes, and its biggest margin was 21 points.

"It just wasn't our night, I guess," Niemczyk said.

Southeast will host Southeastern Louisiana on Saturday night.

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