Win provides Indians a boost

Wednesday, February 13, 2002

It was great to walk into our dressing room after Saturday's win at Eastern Kentucky. The players were happy, slapping each other on the back and feeling good.

We've had a rough season, with not many wins, and too often I've gone into the dressing room with the players' heads down and hurting. To finally break a losing streak and see the reaction was really good for me.

We were able to close the game at Eastern Kentucky and get our first road win of the season. I thought we got great leadership, by example, from captains Drew DeMond and Tim Scheer.

Drew played with great intensity and energy. He came off the bench to score 19 points and pull down six rebounds. Drew needs to be very active to be effective and he was Saturday night.

Taking charge

Tim got us three big 3-pointers early in the second half and enabled us to take the lead. He was 6-for-8 from the field, including 3-for-3 from three, for 17 points.

Our freshman guards, Derek Winans and Brett Hale, both had big games. Derek had an off-shooting night but had an incredible 12 rebounds. That is the most rebounds by a guard in any game I have been associated with as a coach.

Brett was again justly honored as the OVC rookie of the week after scoring 15 points, including 5-for-9 from the field and 3-for-4 from three.

Kenny Johnson had his best game with only one turnover, and Damarcus Hence and Demetrius King both hit big shots. Daniel Weaver came off the bench and had four rebounds in just six minutes of play.

It was a win that kept us in the hunt for the final spot in the OVC Tournament. Once you get to the tournament it is a new season, but we still have work to do in order to make the field.

A good time to win

We need to pick up wins in our three-game homestand. We play Tennessee-Martin Thursday night, Murray State Saturday night and Eastern Illinois next Tuesday night. All these games are winnable.

Tennessee-Martin beat us at their place earlier this season, but the Skyhawks have lost six of their last seven games. They are hard to prepare for because they are balanced. We must take care of the ball because they thrive off turnovers.

Murray State has won four straight and has a talented team. We will have to shoot the ball well and at least stay even on the boards.

Our team is getting better. In OVC games, we are shooting 47 percent from the field, 37 percent from three and 76 percent from the line. We have to continue to cut down our turnovers and continue to improve our rebounding, which has shown marked improvement.

Our fans have been great this season and we hope everyone will come out and help us get some wins during our final three home games.

See you at the Show Me Center.

Gary Garner is the basketball coach at Southeast Missouri State University

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