The Southeast Missouri State men's basketball team had its rough spots but beat Division II Ouachita Baptist 71-60 in Tuesday's exhibition opener.
Southeast will look for continued improvement and another win today when the Redhawks close out their two-game exhibition schedule against Division II Truman State. The tipoff at the Show Me Center is set for 7 p.m.
"We know we'll get better. We've got the pieces," junior point guard Lucas Nutt said.
Southeast coach Dickey Nutt came away feeling fairly good about what the Redhawks did against a solid Ouachita Baptist squad from Arkadelphia, Ark., that went 16-12 last season.
"We've got a lot of work to do, but we had some good performances," Nutt said.
Three Southeast players scored in double figures, led by junior college transfer guard A.J. Jones. He had a game-high 18 points in his Southeast debut.
"He's going to do some good things for us," Nutt said.
Junior forward Tyler Stone, an all-Ohio Valley Conference performer last year when he led Southeast in scoring and rebounding, had a double-double with 16 points and 12 rebounds.
Senior guard Marland Smith, like Stone a preseason all-OVC selection, scored 14 points.
Sophomore forward Nino Johnson added eight points, 11 rebounds and three blocks.
Johnson, who saw limited action last year, joined Stone, Smith, Jones and Lucas Nutt in Tuesday's starting lineup. Those five are likely to begin today's contest on the floor.
Truman State, from Kirksville, Mo., went 8-20 overall and 5-15 in the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletic Association last year. The Bulldogs are picked to finish 12th by the media and 13th by the coaches in the 15-team MIAA this season.
The Bulldogs return all five starters under second-year coach Matt Woodley.
Leading the Bulldogs are reigning MIAA freshman of the year Seth Jackson, a 6-foot-3 sophomore guard who averaged 11.9 points and 4.2 rebounds last season, and 6-9 junior forward Mike Carlson (10.4 ppg, 4.8 rpg).
Tom Norton, a 5-9 senior guard, was the Bulldogs' second-leading scorer last year (11.8 ppg). Isaac Gardner, a 6-4 junior guard, shot 44.4 percent from 3-point range (68 of 153).
The Bulldogs return 92.6 percent of their scoring, 87.3 percent of their rebounding and 98.5 percent of their assists from last year.
Today marks Truman State's lone exhibition contest.
"It's another important game for us," Nutt said. "We're expected to win, and we need to win."
Southeast opens the regular season Friday at seventh-ranked Kansas, last year's NCAA runner-up.