Redhawks survive late comeback by UMKC
The Southeast men’s basketball team defeated the University of Missouri-Kansas City 91-87 on Wednesday to move to 5-4 on the season.
Southeast started off the game off strong offensively despite struggled against UMKC’s half-court pressure. Head coach Rick Ray said UMKC made his team play faster basketball than they usually do.
“You gotta have some guys who are calm and cool and collective on the offensive end and have some opportunity just to go make plays,” Ray said.
Ray also said that UMKC’s defense causes teams to not play a lot of offense but that wasn’t the case for Southeast.
“Fortunately, we kind of play a free-flowing saw offensively,” Ray said. “So, it helps us against teams like this.”
The Redhawks had a 48-37 lead over UMKC at half time, lead by redshirt freshman guard Ray Kowalski and senior guard Daniel Simmons, who both scored nine points.
Ray said he believes the team did a good job carrying out their defensive assignments in the first half, but there were plenty of breakdowns, particularly after the initial stop.
“Our problem was we had so many breakdowns because of offensive rebounds,” Ray said. “They did a really good job of attacking the glass, and I told them ‘This team shoots so many 3s,’ I think they have shot over 150 more 3s than their opponents for the whole season. When you shoot that many 3s, there’s going to be a lot of long rebounds. I told our guys, ‘You just can’t go downhill and rebound the basketball, you gotta go check your man and then come because it’s going to be a long rebound because of how many jump shots they take.’”
UMKC moved to within a point on three occasions, the latter coming with 8 minutes, 17 seconds left in the game. But Southeast, which never trailed in the game, pulled away, outscoring UMKC 25-21 down the stretch.
For the game, Simmons led the Redhawks in scoring with 18 points, playing 21 minutes and shooting 8 of 10 from the free-throw line. Sophomore guard Denzel Mahoney followed with 17 points in 30 minutes of action.
After the game, freshman forward Justin Carpenter said the win showed the team was growing.
“We’re young, and we got some veterans that can help us out and keep us going,” Carpenter said. “It really shows how we’re growing every game and sharing the ball more and more.”
Junior guard Jonathan Dalton recorded a team-high 10 assists in 34 minutes. Carpenter said Dalton is a very good pass-first point guard.
“I think it’s phenomenal to see a player like that,” Carpenter said. “He’ll just look for everyone else and makes the right passes.”
Dalton only committed two turnovers, and Carpenter said that kind of performance is amazing and is what they expect out of him.
Southeast shot 12 of 22 from 3-point range as Mahoney went 3-3 and Kowalski went 4-5. Simmons said they just took good, efficient shots to knock down the 3s.
Redshirt junior guard Dondre Duffus played his first game since Nov. 22, 2016, against UT Rio Grande Valley, due to a groin injury. He played a total of 10 minutes, scored six points and recorded two assists. Ray said he still has some ways to go.
“You can see he’s a guy that can get into the paint,” Ray said. “He just has to figure out when to go and when not to go. He just hasn’t played basketball in so long now and this is his first regular-season basketball game.”
Ray also said he believes Duffus can help out the team defensively as well as drive the lane to make plays.
Southeast shot 23 of 30 from the free throw line, which was a difference-maker in the game; where UMKC only shot 10 of 14 from the line. Ray said he believes the Redhawks could have gone to the line a lot more.
“It’s always our goal to make more free-throws than the other team attempts, and we did a good job of that,” Ray said. “I thought we could have gotten to the free-throw even more, but that’s we want, we want paint attacks.”
Defensively, Ray said the team needs to find ways to guard better.
“We got a lot of teaching points that we got to get across for our guys that are so young and inexperienced and it’s the first time they have been in these situations,” Ray said. “But we had a lot of mental mistakes down the stretch, a lot of tactical mistakes, but it’s good to be able to teach those points off of a win.”
The Redhawks next game is on the road as the will face Southern Illinois at 7 p.m. on Dec. 9. Their next home game will be against Bradley at 1 p.m. on Dec. 20.