Effort was there in weekend losses, but results weren't

Wednesday, January 30, 2002

I was proud of our basketball team's effort and enthusiasm in Saturday's game against Austin Peay.

Nick Stapleton, Austin Peay's outstanding point guard, made a great 3-point shot at the end of the game to give the Governors the one-point win, but I couldn't have been prouder of the effort of our entire team.

We had a chance to take the final shot and I didn't hesitate to put the ball in Derek Winans' hands. Derek made a good move to get into the lane, but stumbled and juggled the ball just a bit before he went up for the shot that went off the rim.

It was a heart-breaking loss and our team really took the defeat hard.

Late in the game I really thought we were going to win because I could see in our players' eyes that they thought they were going to win.

Daniel Weaver had the best game he has had at Southeast with 10 points and eight rebounds in 18 minutes. Daniel made a big shot in the final seconds that put us up by two. He played with great enthusiasm and shot the ball with confidence.

We are getting better as a basketball team. Our two biggest problems this season, rebounding and turnovers, have really shown improvement over the past few games. Against Austin Peay we were even on the boards, each team having 35 rebounds, and we had 11 offensive rebounds to their six. Both teams had 10 turnovers.

The boards were even, the turnovers were even and the game went to the buzzer.

We played the Austin Peay game without our leading rebounder and most experienced player, Drew DeMond. Drew suffered a sprained knee and ankle late in the first half of the Tennessee Tech game Thursday night. He was really having a good game when he went down, with seven points and six rebounds, and we led 29-23 at halftime.

I started freshman Adam Crader in Drew's spot against Austin Peay and he played well. Adam did a good job on defense and contributed two points and four rebounds in 17 minutes of play.

Another freshman, Brett Hale, continues to play well, but I really wish we could get Brett to shoot the ball more. He is passing up a lot of shots and that is all a part of being a freshman playing at the Division I level.

I remember when I was an assistant coach at Missouri, Jon Sundvold, who was later a first-round NBA draft pick, had trouble shooting the ball his first semester at Mizzou. He was passing up shots. Finally he started shooting and, as they say, the rest is history. To the best of my memory, Sundvold was 0-for-7 against Kansas State early in the season and then went 7-for-7 against Kansas State later in the season.

We need to have good practices this week to get ready for the first two games of what is a string of four straight road games. We play at Tennessee State on Thursday and this is a game that we can win, although the Tigers will be tough after beating Morehead State by 19 points Monday night.

Tennessee State beat us earlier this year at the Show Me Center, but we are playing a lot better now and I am confident that if we play with the same enthusiasm we had against Austin Peay we can be successful.

Saturday night we are at Tennessee Tech and that will be a tough game, but anything can happen in college basketball. Just check last Saturday's scores.

Gary Garner is the basketball coach at Southeast Missouri State University

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