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Southeast Missouri State men's basketball team opens home schedule vs. Lyon College
The Southeast Missouri State men's basketball team battled seventh-ranked Kansas well Friday night before suffering a season-opening 74-55 loss.
Southeast will be the heavy favorite to notch its first win today, but coach Dickey Nutt said the Redhawks can't take their 7 p.m. home opener against NAIA Lyon College for granted.
"Every night out, I think our guys understand, every game counts," Nutt said. "We only have an X amount of home games. We have to take advantage of all of them.
"We're looking forward to the game. Hopefully we can get back to a winning way."
Lyon, from Batesville, Ark., is off to a 2-2 start after going 8-21 last year during its final season in the TranSouth Athletic Conference. The Scots have lost two straight after opening the campaign with two victories.
The Scots, who are using today's game as an exhibition, are now in the less-rugged American Midwest Conference.
"I'm excited about the new conference we're coming into this year," 18th-year Lyon coach Kevin Jenkins said before the season. "I think we have as good an opportunity to compete night in and night out as anybody."
Whether the Scots can compete with Southeast remains to be seen, but they certainly have the size to match up with the Redhawks. Lyon's roster lists seven players at 6 foot 5 or taller.
"We have more size than we've had here in the past," said Jenkins, a former assistant at Three Rivers College in Poplar Bluff, Mo., who entered this year with a 201-297 record at Lyon.
Lyon's top returning player is its only senior, 6-8 forward Slater Belew, who averaged 9.9 points and 4.1 rebounds per game last season. He earned second-team all-TranSouth Athletic Conference honors the past two years.
The Scots' best player thus far has been 6-1 junior college transfer guard Marcus Humose, who averaged 22 points per game last year at Gulf Coast (Fla.) Community College.
Humose is averaging 22.5 points through Lyon's first four games. He has scored at least 17 points in every contest.
The Scots are averaging 85 points per game and allowing 88 points per contest.
"I assure you, it's their Super Bowl. They're going to be fired up to play us," Nutt said. "Everybody has good players these days. We better be ready. We're supposed to win these games, but it doesn't always work that way."
Nutt was encouraged by Southeast's performance at Kansas, last year's national runner-up, although the Redhawks' offense left plenty to be desired as they shot just 29 percent from the field.
"I saw a lot of positives. I saw a lot of things we can build on, but we've still got a long way to go," Nutt said. "We played well defensively, but our offense was not very good."
Southeast plays its second straight home contest Thursday when McNeese State visits for a 7 p.m. tipoff.
The Cowboys beat Southeast 74-61 last year in Lake Charles, La.