The tough losses continue to mount, but Southeast Missouri State University's Indians vow they will keep a positive attitude until -- hopefully -- things get better.
"We have to stay together," said junior forward Tim Scheer, who led the Indians with 14 points during Saturday's 68-67 loss to Austin Peay. "If we do that, good things will eventually happen and we'll start winning some of these games."
But by now, the Indians must be wondering. In a season that had already featured its share of heart-breaking Ohio Valley Conference defeats, none has been more crushing than Saturday's.
"We're almost there. We just can't get over the hump," said redshirt freshman guard Derek Winans, the Indians' top scorer at 15 points per game who is the leading candidate for OVC Freshman of the Year honors. "But all we can do is stay positive and keep working hard."
Added Scheer, the Indians' second-leading scorer at 14 points per game, "It's frustrating, but encouraging. We finally played hard for 40 minutes with pretty good intensity. It's a positive, but this hurts."
Southeast coach Gary Garner said he continues to be amazed by his players' resiliency.
"I'm really proud of the guys," he said. "Until you've been through it, you don't know how tough it is to keep playing hard and staying positive with a record (3-16) like ours."
An inside shuffle
Southeast's inside game had a different look Saturday. Starting center Drew DeMond missed the contest with a knee injury and Monte Gordon, who was supposed to see plenty of action, never got off the bench in a disciplinary measure as Garner said he was late for the pre-game meal.
Adam Crader, a 6-foot-11 freshman, started in DeMond's place and played 17 minutes. He scored two points and grabbed four rebounds, although he missed all four of his free-throw attempts, including a pair of crucial ones late.
Daniel Weaver, a 6-8 junior, saw his most extensive action since early in the season and responded with 10 points and eight rebounds in 18 minutes.
Also seeing his most extensive action in a while was junior forward Demetrius King, who was a starter for much of the season but hadn't played much lately. He scored 10 points in 21 minutes.
"It felt good to hit a few shots," said King. "I've just tried to work hard and when I get a chance, make the most of it."
In addition, walk-on freshman point guard Kevin Roberts saw his most extensive action in some time and had a team-high four assists in 17 minutes.