Loss has bright spots for Indians

Sunday, December 16, 2001

ST. LOUIS -- Even though Southeast Missouri State University was blown out by St. Louis Saturday afternoon, the 88-62 setback was not without a few bright spots for the Indians.

Redshirt freshman guard Derek Winans, who had struggled some offensively in the last few games after beginning his college career so impressively with 47 points in his first two outings, got back on track against the Billikens.

Winans, who entered Saturday's contest as the Indians' leading scorer on the season at 15.2 points per game, paced Southeast with 18 points as he hit seven of 14 field-goal attempts, including two of five from 3-point range.

"I thought Derek had a really good game," said Southeast coach Gary Garner.

Winans impressed SLU coach Lorenzo Romar, who remarked, "He's a good player. You have to really watch him all the time or he'll hurt you."

Hence has strong game

Also breaking out Saturday was sophomore forward Damarcus Hence, who had really struggled with his shot in the three games since he returned after missing the first three contests of the season due to a team-induced suspension.

Hence came off the bench to hit five of nine shots on his way to 10 points.

"Damarcus had his best game since he's come back," said Garner.

Junior forward Tim Scheer was solid as he scored nine points and grabbed a team-leading seven rebounds to help the Indians stay virtually even on the boards with the taller Billikens, SLU winning that battle only 33-32. Scheer went four of six from the floor.

"I thought Tim really played hard and battled," Garner said.

And Garner was also encouraged by the Southeast debut of junior point guard Kenny Johnson, who had been academically ineligible for the first semester's six games. Although understandably a bit rusty, Johnson obviously gives the Indians a new dimension with his speed, quickness and adept ball handling.

Johnson, playing 26 minutes, scored seven points on three of eight shooting and he dished out a team-high five assists compared to three turnovers.

"You could tell he was rusty, but for the first game, I thought he did well," said Garner. "He'll really help us. He gives us something we didn't have and allows us to play a different way."

With a game under his belt, Garner is hoping Johnson will be that much more comfortable Monday night when the Indians return to action by hosting Mississippi Valley State.

"The more game action Kenny gets, the better he'll be," said Garner.

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