Southeast Missouri State men's basketball team ends three-game skid

Tuesday, November 27, 2012
Southeast Missouri State guard Corey Wilford draws a foul from Hannibal-LaGrange’s Preston Steinhoff during the first half of the Redhawks’ 96-55 win Monday at the Show Me Center. (ADAM VOGLER)

Redhawks end three-game slide with 96-55 win against NAIA foe Hannibal-LaGrange

The Southeast Missouri State men's basketball team was in serious need of a confidence boost.

Hannibal-LaGrange provided the perfect foil.

Southeast broke a three-game losing streak and got its stagnant offense untracked Monday night with a 96-55 romp.

"It's been tough, taking these losses on the road," senior guard Corey Wilford said. "It's good to get back in the win column."

Southeast Missouri State ‘s Tyler Stone shoots a 3-pointer over Hannibal-LaGrange’s Tony Ardison during the first half Monday at the Show Me Center. Southeast won 96-55. More photos can be viewed at semoball.com. (ADAM VOGLER)

An announced Show Me Center crowd of 1,714 saw the Redhawks improve to 4-4. They are 3-0 at home.

Hannibal-LaGrange, an NAIA program from Hannibal, Mo., is 1-5.

"This is a get-well game," Southeast coach Dickey Nutt said. "It's good to win. I told our guys, don't underestimate how precious winning is no matter who you're playing."

Southeast shot less than 40 percent from the field each of the past three games after hitting at least 50 percent in three of its first four contests.

The Redhawks broke out offensively Monday, blistering the nets for a season-high 64.3 percent (36 of 56) as they reached a season-high point total.

Southeast was hot inside and outside. The Redhawks outscored the smaller Trojans 42-18 in the paint and also made a season-high 11 3-pointers in 16 attempts (68.8 percent).

"We shot the ball with confidence. We shared the ball," said Nutt, whose squad hit 70 percent in a second half that saw the Redhawks outscore the Trojans 51-28.

Junior college transfer guard A.J. Jones had Southeast's hottest hand in his first game coming off the bench for the Redhawks.

Jones, who had started the first seven contests, had the highest-scoring game of his young Southeast career with 24 points.

Jones poured in 21 second-half points. He finished the night 6 of 8 from behind the arc and 9 of 12 from the field overall.

"I got tired of them telling me I can't shoot," said a smiling Jones, eyeing several teammates in the post-game interview room.

Jones, who was 5 of 13 from 3-point range before Monday, said he was fine not starting.

"It was cool. I wasn't mad I was coming off the bench. It's a team thing," he said.

Jones, after playing just five first-half minutes, played 15 minutes in the second half. Nutt suggested he didn't like Jones' hustle in the opening period but he had a much better all-around performance after the break.

"I challenged him at halftime," Nutt said. "In the second half he stepped up. He showed some of his offensive capabilities."

Sophomore forward Nino Johnson, operating strictly from within a few feet of the basket, had a nearly perfect shooting night on his way to 17 points. He hit all five of his field-goal attempts and 7 of 8 free throws while also grabbing seven rebounds.

"The game was great, coming off the losing streak and getting this win tonight," Johnson said.

Johnson said the Redhawks made "little mistakes here and there but it was a pretty good game overall, especially from our guards."

Three more Southeast players scored in double figures.

Junior forward Tyler Stone had 13 points and seven rebounds.

Senior guard Marland Smith also had a near-perfect shooting performance for 12 points. He hit 4 of 4 from the floor, including his only 3-point attempt, and made 3 of 4 from the line.

Wilford had his fifth straight double-figure scoring outing with 11 points. He added three rebounds, two assists and two steals without a turnover.

Junior point guard Lucas Nutt dished out eight assists against just one turnover.

"We had a lot of bright spots," Dickey Nutt said.

The coach also lauded the performances of reserves Jacob Tolbert and Jared White, who could be keys for the Redhawks as they try to build quality depth.

Tolbert, a redshirt freshman forward from Notre Dame Regional High School, had a game-high eight rebounds in 17 minutes as Southeast controlled the boards 39-24. He also blocked a shot and had an assist.

White, a freshman point guard, had four points, two rebounds, two assists and a steal in 18 minutes. He was 2 of 2 from the field.

"Those guys were bright spots because we're looking for depth," Nutt said.

Southeast scored the first eight points and never looked back, although the Trojans did hang around for a while and trailed just 18-14 midway through the opening half.

The Redhawks ended the period on a 10-2 run to lead 45-27 at the break. They scored the first six points of the second half and continued to pour it on.

"The thing I was most pleased with, regardless of the score, [his players] gave me an honest effort," Nutt said.

Monday's game represented a break from a stretch that has Southeast playing seven of eight contests away from Cape Girardeau.

Southeast concludes the grueling swing with three road games: at New Orleans on Thursday, at Southeastern Louisiana on Saturday and at Missouri on Dec. 4.

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