Redhawks fall to Central Ark.

Sunday, December 9, 2012
Southeast Missouri State University guard Marland Smith has his shot blocked on a drive to the basket, trying to tie the game with nine seconds left in the second half of the Redhawks' 88-85 loss to the University of Central Arkansas Saturday at the Show Me Center. (ADAM VOGLER)

Robert Crawford had a career game, primarily from the outside.

Tyler Stone had a career game, primarily from the inside.

Outside won.

Crawford, a senior guard, poured in 39 points Saturday night as Central Arkansas slipped past Southeast Missouri State 88-85.

Stone, the Redhawks' junior forward, pumped in 32 points but it was not enough to prevent a season-high Show Me Center crowd announced at 2,384 from leaving disappointed.

Southeast coach Dickey Nutt also came away feeling blue.

"We're disappointed. I didn't think we played well at all and we didn't execute when the game was on the line," Nutt said. "I know our guys are better than that. We let one slip away tonight."

Southeast fell to 6-6 with its first home loss of the season after three straight lopsided wins at the Show Me Center.

UCA improved to 4-3. The Bears beat Southeast from the second straight season, including last year's 88-72 romp in Conway, Ark.

"It's a big road win," Crawford said.

Crawford was largely responsible.

He entered play averaging 10.4 points per game and his previous career high was 19 points.

Crawford nearly had that by halftime as he pumped in 16 points. But he was just getting started.

"We tried all kinds of matchups. It seemed like he couldn't miss," Southeast junior point guard Lucas Nutt said.

Crawford poured in 23 second-half points. He hit 7 of 8 from the field in the period, including 5 of 6 from 3-point range. Several of his 3-pointers were from well behind the arc.

"I practice out there," said Crawford when asked if he routinely shoots from 25 feet and beyond.

Crawford finished making 12 of 15 from the field, including 7 of 9 from 3-point range, and 8 of 8 from the free-throw line.

"We couldn't stop them," said Dickey Nutt, disappointed in Southeast's overall defense. "We have a guy get 39 on us in our building."

Stone scored 22 second-half points. He finished 14 of 21 from the field and grabbed seven rebounds. His previous career scoring performance also came against UCA when he recorded 30 last year.

Stone did not attend the post-game interview session -- despite being requested -- but sophomore forward Nino Johnson lauded his performance.

"He played real great, especially in the second half when we needed them," Johnson said.

Johnson also scored a career-high 21 points and matched his career high with 16 rebounds as he recorded his fifth double-double of the season.

But Johnson, who added four blocks to his Ohio Valley Conference-leading total, lamented making just 7 of 15 free throws.

Johnson was only 5 of 13 from the line in the second half. He missed two with 1 minute, 4 seconds left and Southeast trailing 83-81.

Johnson also lamented his ill-advised pass in the closing seconds with Southeast again behind by two points at 85-83. UCA junior guard LaQuentin Miles missed the front end of a 1-and-1 with 26 seconds remaining.

Johnson grabbed the rebound and fired a baseball pass to the other end of the court. It was intercepted.

"I just forced it," Johnson said. "That was my bad on that."

Southeast, which trailed most of the night, still had chances.

After UCA hit two free throws to go ahead 87-83, senior guard Marland Smith drove for a basket with 16 seconds left, cutting the deficit to 87-85.

UCA had trouble inbounding the ball. When the Bears finally did throw it in, Miles was tied up by Nutt and the arrow favored Southeast.

Smith again drove the lane but had his shot blocked with 9 seconds left.

The Bears made 1 of 2 free throws with 6.3 seconds remaining for an 88-85 advantage. Stone got off a good 3-point attempt but it bounced off the rim at the buzzer.

"It was a good heads-up play and Tyler took a good shot," Dickey Nutt. "It just fell off the mark."

Southeast, with a big advantage inside, shot 50 percent -- 65.5 percent in the second half -- and outrebounded UCA 47-32.

But the Bears became just the second squad to shoot 40 percent or better against Southeast this season. UCA hit 43.8 percent -- 48.5 percent in the final period -- and made 9 of 21 3-pointers (42.9 percent).

"We were bad defensively," Lucas Nutt said. "We've been doing good all year [defensively]. For whatever reason we just didn't have it."

Southeast had a big free-throw advantage but didn't fully capitalize on its opportunities.

The Redhawks made 25 of 37 for 67.6 percent. UCA, among the nation's worst free-throw teams entering the night at 52.5 percent, hit 15 of 18 from the line (83.3 percent).

"We ran into a very hot team tonight," Dickey Nutt said. "They shot the ball well."

Southeast held just two first-half leads, at 4-3 and 6-5. It was 42-35 at the break.

There were six second-half lead changes. Southeast took its first lead since early with just over 11 minutes left.

The Redhawks, never ahead by more than one point, held their final advantage at 68-67 with just over seven minutes remaining.

UCA regained the lead less than 15 second later and never relinquished it.

"We just couldn't make plays at the right time," Lucas Nutt said. Nutt and senior guard Corey Wilford both added 10 points for Southeast.

Miles, a member of Nutt's first recruiting class who saw limited action for Southeast as a freshman in 2009-10 before transferring to UCA, scored 18 points.

The Redhawks take a break for finals before returning to action Dec. 19 at home against New Orleans.

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