Southeast Missouri State men's basketball team wins third consecutive game

Sunday, December 2, 2012

The Southeast Missouri State men's basketball team had to sweat out what looked like a likely routine win.

That didn't matter to coach Dickey Nutt, who was elated following the Redhawks' second straight road victory, 61-58 over Southeastern Lousiana on Saturday afternoon.

"We're really excited. It was a great win," said Nutt, whose squad won at New Orleans on Thursday before making the short drive to Hammond, La., for Saturday's contest. "We've been on the road so much. ... We've been around the world and back. I'm really proud of the guys."

Southeast improved to 6-4 and has its second three-game winning streak of the season.

The Redhawks also ended Southeastern Louisiana's 31-game nonconference home winning streak. The Lions' last home loss to a nonleague opponent had been to Jackson State in November of 2006.

"These guys are hard to beat here," Nutt said.

Southeast trailed 10-7 early before going on a 20-0 run as the Lions (1-5) went scoreless for more than nine minutes.

The Redhawks' biggest lead was 29-11 before Southeastern Louisiana cut the deficit to 31-20 at the break.

"In the first half we really executed," said Nutt, whose squad shot 52.2 percent in the opening period and held the Lions to 25 percent.

Southeastern Louisiana pulled to within eight points three times, but Southeast appeared to have regained control with a 14-point lead and under seven minutes left.

The Redhawks still led by 10 points at 58-48 with just under two minutes remaining when the Lions made one final push.

Southeast hit just 2 of 4 free throws and committed a turnover, allowing the Lions to slice the deficit to 60-58 with five seconds remaining.

Senior guard Corey Wilford made 1 of 2 foul shots with 2.9 seconds left for a three-point cushion, and a long 3-point attempt by the Lions was off the mark.

"We tried our best to give the game away," Nutt said.

Wilford continued to provide the Redhawks an offensive presence in the backcourt with a game-high 18 points. He added four rebounds and four assists.

Wilford hit all five of his 3-point attempts, and the Redhawks went a sizzling 9 of 11 from beyond the arc (81.8 percent). Wilford has scored in double figures six of the last seven games.

"Corey has been really consistent shooting the ball," Nutt said.

Sophomore forward Nino Johnson scored 10 points and grabbed a career-high 16 rebounds. He added two blocks and two steals.

Johnson had his second consecutive double-double. He has four this season, tying junior forward Tyler Stone for team-high honors.

"Nino was our most consistent player," Nutt said.

Stone had 13 points, nine rebounds and three blocks.

Senior guard Marland Smith added 10 points and four assists. He made 2 of 3 from beyond the arc.

Junior point guard Lucas Nutt played just three minutes in the first half after he experienced a foot problem during warmups. Nutt returned to play 17 minutes in the second half and had four assists.

"We were scared about it, but at halftime he assured me he was better," Dickey Nutt said.

Southeast, ranked ninth nationally in field-goal percentage defense, held the Lions to 32.3-percent shooting. All 10 Southeast opponents have shot under 40 percent.

"We played well defensively," said Nutt, whose squad recently finished its first winning November since he took over the program four years ago.

Southeast concludes a stretch that has it playing seven of eight games away from home Tuesday with a 7 p.m. tipoff at 15th-ranked Missouri.

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