Southeast Missouri State men's basketball team falls to Louisiana Tech

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Southeast men can't rebound from poor start to second half, fall 67-63

The Southeast Missouri State men's basketball team struggled to begin Monday's second half.

That was the opening Louisiana Tech needed to build a nice cushion and hold off the Redhawks 67-63 at the CBE Classic in Chattanooga, Tenn.

Southeast fell to 3-2 as the Redhawks had their three-game winning streak snapped. The Bulldogs, a squad out of the Western Athletic Conference, are 3-1.

"We're disappointed because we felt like we let one get away. We felt like this was a winnable game," said Southeast coach Dickey Nutt, whose team knocked off host Chattanooga 77-65 on Sunday in the CBE Classic.

Southeast trailed Tech most of the first half but rallied for a 32-31 halftime lead as junior guard A.J. Jones nailed a 3-pointer with three seconds left.

The Redhawks then went scoreless for 5 minutes, 27 seconds to start the second half, committing five turnovers and missing seven shots. The Bulldogs used a 12-0 run to build the day's biggest advantage of 43-32.

"The first five minutes of the second half killed us," Nutt said. "We turned the ball over too much and didn't withstand their run."

Southeast cut the deficit to three points three times but got no closer.

"I was proud of our guys for the fight we showed. We had our chances even with those turnovers," said Nutt, whose squad had 15 turnovers in the game. "We just couldn't get over the hump, and they hit some big shots. We just have to play a lot better."

Southeast struggled offensively for the first time since a season-opening loss at nationally-ranked Kansas. The Redhawks shot 38.3 percent from the field, including 31.3 percent in the second half. They made just 4 of 13 3-pointers (30.8 percent).

"I give them credit. They're a big, strong, physical team. They gave us problems. We let their pressure bother us," Nutt said. "They're good. There's a reason why they're picked in the top half of their conference, and they're in a good conference."

The Redhawks held Tech to 37.3-percent shooting, but the Bulldogs hit twice as many 3-pointers as Southeast. They were 8 of 25 from beyond the arc (32 percent).

Junior forward Tyler Stone had his second straight double-double with 17 points and 14 rebounds.

Sophomore forward Nino Johnson also posted a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds. He added a career-high five blocks, all in the second half, but shot just 4-of-13 and had six turnovers.

Senior guard Corey Wilford had his second straight strong performance off the bench with 16 points. That came after he had a career-high 21 points, all in the second half, Sunday against Chattanooga.

"He's playing really good. He just gives us that energy we need," Nutt said.

Tech sophomore guard Raheem Appleby, last season's WAC Freshman of the Year and a second-team all-WAC selection, led all scorers with 21 points.

Southeast, after scoring the first seven points the previous day against Chattanooga, saw Tech score the first four points Monday. The Bulldogs also built early leads of 7-2 and 9-4.

"I felt we weren't ready to play," Nutt said. "We had four turnovers to start the game."

Southeast settled down and took its first lead at 13-11 midway through the half.

The lead changed hands five times in the final two minutes of the opening period and Southeast entered the break ahead 32-31 on Jones' 3-pointer.

"We had a tough first four minutes, but we regrouped and still had a pretty decent half," Nutt said.

Then came the bad second-half start.

"I'm still happy about our team. We just have to regroup," Nutt said.

Southeast concludes CBE Classic play today against Troy at 3:30 p.m.

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