Southeast Missouri State men's basketball team wins home opener against Lyon College 89-61

Tuesday, November 13, 2012
ADAM VOGLER ~ avogler@semissourian.com
Southeast Missouri State guard Marland Smith goes up for a layup during the Redhawks’ 89-61 win over Lyon College
on Monday at the Show Me Center. More photos can be viewed at semoball.com.

Southeast men won their home opener handily with an 89-61 victory over the Scots

The Southeast Missouri State men's basketball team was determined to end Lyon College's upset hopes early.

With Tyler Stone and Nino Johnson dominating the paint, the undermanned Scots had no chance.

Southeast kept control the entire way during its home opener Monday night, romping 89-61 in front of announced Show Me Center crowd of 1,909.

"You have to come out and not underestimate the other team," Stone said. "We wanted to bring energy regardless who we're playing."

Southeast Missouri State guard A.J. Jones drives against Lyon College’s Kendall Leeks during Monday’s game.

The Redhawks (1-1) had a size and strength advantage inside over the Scots (2-2), an NAIA squad from Batesville, Ark.

Southeast took full advantage behind the dominance of Stone and Johnson.

"We have two of the best big men in the [Ohio Valley] conference," senior guard Marland Smith said.

Stone, a 6-foot-8, 230-pound all-OVC junior forward, poured in 25 points and grabbed six rebounds.

Stone hit 10 of 13 field-goal attempts, most from within a few feet -- including five dunks.

"A little something for the kids," said a smiling Stone when asked about the slams that included a few off alley-oop passes.

Stone said the Redhawks wanted to display much more offensive patience after they shot just 29 percent during Friday's 74-55 season-opening loss at seventh-ranked Kansas.

"I don't think we were patient the other night," said Stone, who added two blocks. "We showed a lot of patience [Monday]."

Southeast coach Dickey Nutt said Stone's shot selection left plenty to be desired at Kansas, noting he took too many outside jumpers in a 3-for-15 night of shooting.

There was no such indiscretion against Lyon.

"He let the game come to him. He didn't shoot any wild shots," Nutt said.

Johnson, an emerging 6-8, 230-pound sophomore forward, followed a solid performance at Kansas with another impressive outing.

Johnson, operating exclusively inside, hit 6 of 9 shots and scored 14 points. He also pulled down 15 rebounds for his first collegiate double-double.

Johnson had three of Southeast's nine dunks and added two blocks and two assists.

"I was just playing hard. I didn't force anything, and my guards got it to me," said Johnson, who received limited playing time last year.

Johnson reached career highs for points and rebounds, which he had set against Kansas by scoring 12 points and grabbing nine boards.

"It's something Nino can do every night," Smith said.

Said Nutt about Johnson's play so far: "It's great to see. He's going to get better and better. Fifteen rebounds is a hard night's work."

Added Nutt about Stone and Johnson: "That's their game, those guys really controlling the paint, not only offensively but defensively."

Southeast had plenty of other strong performances.

Smith bounced back from a 1-for-10 shooting night at Kansas by making 7 of 15 and scoring 19 points.

Smith, who hit 4 of 8 from 3-point range, added seven rebounds and four assists without a turnover.

"It happens," Smith said about his struggles in the opener. "Our main focus [Monday] was to get it inside to those guys. Once they get going, it's how I get going."

Junior college transfer guard A.J. Jones recorded his first Southeast double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds. He accounted for Southeast's other dunk.

Junior point guard Lucas Nutt had five assists against one turnover.

Senior guard Nick Niemczyk contributed seven points.

Southeast also got solid play from three rookies who saw extensive second-half action with the outcome well in hand.

Freshman center Colin Ferguson scored six points, all in the second half; freshman point guard Jared White had three points, three rebounds and two assists without a turnover; and redshirt freshman forward Jacob Tolbert from Notre Dame Regional High School grabbed seven rebounds.

"I'm proud of everybody for the game we played," Stone said.

Southeast shot 50 percent (36 of 72) and held Lyon to 27.9 percent (19 of 68).

The Scots were averaging 85 points and shooting 40 percent from 3-point range. They made only 7 of 29 from beyond the arc (24.1 percent).

"I was really proud of our guys. I thought you saw a lot of patience [offensively], inside-out," Dickey Nutt said. "The intensity level we showed, regardless of the opponent, we kept the throttle on for 40 minutes.

"I thought our defense was really good. We beat a team we were supposed to beat, but it doesn't matter. It's good to get a win."

Southeast, which outrebounded Lyon 56-35, scored the first five points.

A 17-0 run that featured Lyon going scoreless for more than seven minutes opened up a 35-15 bulge.

It was 46-27 at halftime, and Southeast's biggest second-half lead was 34 points.

"I think we played pretty well," Smith said. "We don't want to take anybody lightly. They put on their shoes and jerseys just like we do."

Southeast returns to action Thursday, hosting McNeese State in a 7 p.m. tipoff.

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