Southeast Missouri State men's basketball team finally returns home

Friday, December 7, 2012

The Southeast men will play five of their next six games at the Show Me Center

One of the more disappointing games of the 2011-12 Southeast Missouri State men's basketball season took place Dec. 5 in Conway, Ark., as Central Arkansas romped 88-72.

The Redhawks (6-5) will have a chance to get back at the Bears (3-3) Saturday when UCA visits the Show Me Center for a 5:30 p.m. tipoff.

"We didn't play very well at all, and they put it to us," Southeast coach Dickey Nutt said about last year's loss to a team that went 8-21 overall and 3-13 in the Southland Conference.

Southeast, which has played just three of its first 11 games at home, have five home dates among its next six contests.

"We're looking forward to getting back to playing at home," Nutt said. "I hope our fans will come out and get behind this team. I think we have a good team and our players deserve it."

Southeast will try to bounce back from Tuesday's 81-65 loss at 11th-ranked Missouri that snapped the Redhawks' second three-game winning streak of the season.

The Redhawks gave the Tigers quite a battle, leading by 10 points at halftime and by 11 points early in the second half before Missouri eventually pulled away.

"We feel like we can play with anybody in the country," said senior guard Corey Wilford, who paced Southeast with 14 points.

Junior forward Tyler Stone, Southeast's leading scorer with a 15.5 average, said the Redhawks were disappointed about letting a potential upset slip away.

Stone, who poured in a career-high 30 points during last year's meeting with UCA, added that the Redhawks will be extra motivated to bounce back Saturday.

Nutt expects a strong challenge from the Bears, who are coached by former Arkansas All-American and 12-year NBA player Corliss Williamson.

UCA, picked to finish eighth (coaches) and ninth (sports information directors) in the 10-team Southland Conference, already has beaten two Ohio Valley Conference squads.

The Bears got a basket as time expired to win at Eastern Illinois 74-72 and held off Tennessee-Martin 87-86 on Wednesday. The Panthers and Skyhawks are expected to finish toward the bottom of the OVC.

Two of UCA's three losses have been by a total of four points -- both at home. The Bears fell to Arkansas State 73-72 and Sacramento State 71-68.

The Bears' other loss was 79-64 at Arizona State. Their other win was 108-65 over Division III Hendrix College.

"I know they're good," Nutt said. "They're big and long and talented."

One of UCA's top players is familiar to Southeast.

LaQuentin Miles, a 6-foot-5 junior guard, was a member of Nutt's first recruiting class. He saw limited action for the Redhawks as a freshman in 2009-10 before transferring to UCA, where he had to sit out a season under NCAA transfer rules.

Miles paced the Bears with a 14.9 scoring average last year, which ranked fourth in the conference. He led the league with 57 steals and earned third-team all-conference honors.

He is a first-team all-Southland Conference preseason selection. He is averaging 13.2 points, second on the squad, and leads the Bears with 26 assists.

"He's played well for them," Nutt said.

UCA's top scorer and rebounder is 6-7 senior forward Jarvis Garner, who averages 13.5 points and 6.3 boards.

The Bears are shooting an impressive 47.1 from the field, including 40.5 percent from 3-point range. They are averaging 78.8 points and allowing 74.3.

Southeast will try to restart a defensive streak that ended against Missouri. The Redhawks held their first 10 opponents to under 40 percent field-goal shooting but saw Missouri shoot 44.8 percent.

The Redhawks, following Saturday's game, take a break for finals before returning to action Dec. 19 at home against New Orleans.

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