The Southeast Missouri State University men's basketball team built a little confidence with an 80-69 exhibition win over the Dreambuilders at the Show Me Center Monday night.
The Indians were in need of a victory after losing a 22-point second-half lead in an opening exhibition loss to the University of Missouri-St. Louis last Thursday.
Southeast coach Gary Garner said, "We played a little better defensively and a little better offensively. But what we've got to do, and you're going to hear me say this all year long, is we've got to take this one day, one practice and one game at a time, because we're playing a lot of young players out there."
Added Garner, "Getting beat Thursday night and with a young team, I think we needed to win for our confidence."
The young and shorthanded Indians, who finished the exhibition season with a 1-1 record, got nice inside games from junior forward Tim Scheer and junior center Daniel Weaver. Both recorded double-doubles.
Scheer had a game-high 24 points to go with 12 rebounds, while Weaver scored 13 points and grabbed 12 boards.
The Indians' young backcourt of redshirt freshman Derek Winans and true freshman Brett Hale continued to show improvement. The athletic Winans netted 16 points with four assists and no turnovers, while Hale scored 13 points and had six assists.
The Dreambuilders, due to a recent auto accident in which a couple of players received minor injuries, recruited three former Southeast players for the game. Antonio Short, Amory Sanders and Mike Branson suited up against the Indians.
Short led the Dreambuilders with 21 points, including three three-pointers. Branson and Sanders had seven and six points, respectively.
Southeast led 41-25 at the half and never fell out of the lead, although the Dreambuilders cut the margin to 53-49 about midway through the second half.
The visitors outscored the Indians 44-39 in the final half, mostly on second-chance shots as they outrebounded the Indians 24-13 in the period.
Said Garner, "They asked me at the beginning of the year what my biggest concern was and I said rebounding and it still is. We're not as athletic inside as we've been in the past. We've got to get everybody, we say 'ten hands to the ball'; our guards and everybody just really rebounding the ball."
The Indians are still missing four key players counted on for leadership and on-court contributions.
"We haven't got our whole team together right now," said Garner, "and we need to just keep our heads above water until we get everybody out there and then go from there."
Drew DeMond, last season's starting power forward and the Indians' only full-time returning regular, is out with a hand injury, but should be back by the second regular-season game.
Kenny Johnson, a junior-college transfer and likely starting point guard, is awaiting an NCAA ruling today on his playing status. Garner expects Johnson to be declared eligible.
Two others, senior forward Monte Gordon and sophomore guard Justin Smith, will not be eligible until the second semester.
Southeast opens the regular season at home against Birmingham Southern Friday night.
Asked if his team is ready, Garner said, "I don't know if we're ready or not, but I think we have to be."