Southeast Missouri State men's basketball team visits Central Arkansas

Monday, December 5, 2011
Former Redhawks guard LaQuentin Miles dunks while playing for Southeast Missouri State during the 2009-2010 season. (Southeast Missourian file)

Southeast Missouri State men's basketball coach Dickey Nutt will see a familiar face today at Central Arkansas.

Nutt hopes he's not burned by one of his former players when the Redhawks (4-4) and Bears (3-3) meet at 7:30 p.m. in Conway, Ark.

LaQuentin Miles, a 6-foot-5 sophomore guard who began his career at Southeast, is the Southland Conference's top scorer, and he also leads UCA in rebounding.

Miles, averaging 19.5 points and 7.2 boards per game, has scored 20 or more points in four straight contests. He is shooting 56.8 percent from the field. He also leads the Bears in steals with 19.

Miles was a member of Nutt's first recruiting class at Southeast. He played one season for the Redhawks, in 2009-10, before transferring to UCA. He sat out last year under NCAA transfer rules.

"We always thought LaQuentin had a lot of potential. He's a very good athlete," Nutt said. "He's having a great year so far. It looks like he's really getting to the basket, and we'll have our hands full with him. I'm sure he'll want to really do well against us."

Miles saw limited action for the Redhawks as a freshman but did make two starts. He averaged 2.8 points and 2.0 rebounds. Nutt said Miles left Southeast to get back closer to his home in Jacksonville, Ark.

"He was homesick. All of his friends went to Central Arkansas," Nutt said.

UCA, coached by former Arkansas All-American and 12-year NBA player Corliss Williamson, went 5-24 overall and 1-15 in the Southland Conference during Williamson's first season last year.

But the Bears are hot, riding a three-game winning streak to put them at the .500 mark for the first time since the 2008-09 season.

UCA has had some interesting results, losing to NAIA Philander Smith but beating two Ohio Valley Conference squads, Eastern Illinois 107-96 in double overtime at home and Tennessee-Martin 75-68 on the road.

"They're playing really well right now," Nutt said. "It's going to be a tough game for us."

The Bears are averaging an impressive 78 points per game but are allowing a whopping 83.7 points. Opponents are shooting 47.9 percent from the field.

UCA is shooting a 46 percent but just 20.3 percent from 3-point range. The Bears don't shoot much from beyond the arc, having hit 14 of 69 attempts. Miles has not shot a single 3-pointer.

Southeast will be looking for its first road victory of the year. The Redhawks are 4-0 at home but 0-4 away from Cape Girardeau.

The Redhawks have captured three of their past four contests, including Saturday's 63-61 overtime decision over visiting Southeastern Louisiana.

Southeast saw a 54-45 second-half lead evaporate as the Lions scored the final nine points of regulation. But the Redhawks prevailed on a basket by sophomore forward Tyler Stone with 4.7 seconds left in overtime.

"It was a good win for us. I thought we showed a lot of toughness," Nutt said.

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