Southeast Missouri State University student publication

Southeast men's basketball team falls at home to Tennessee State

Sunday, February 5, 2012

The Southeast Missouri State University men's basketball team lost a close game 75-72 after a strong first half against Tennessee State Saturday night.

"We shouldn't have lost that game," junior guard Corey Wilford said.

The game started off close with both teams trading baskets but a few shots from Tennessee State's Robert Covington, who finished with a game high of23 points, and two 3-pointers from Kenny Moore would give Tennessee State a 19-9 lead.

With a little over 11 minutes left in the first half and the Redhawks down 23-9 they made a substitution and brought in junior guard Corey Wilford. Wilford got off to a good start and knocked down one of his two 3-pointers within the first two minutes he was in the game which began to close the gap.

"Wilford continues to shoot the ball well," coach Dickey Nutt said. "We just have to get his overall game right and get everything down perfect."

Along with Wilford, the Redhawks were able to complete the comeback by attacking the boards out rebounding Tennessee State 17-4 during the stretch.

Wilford went on to score 10 points in the 10 minutes first half minutes, and scored a layup with two minutes, 38 seconds left that tied the game at 30.

By halftime the score was 35-30 with the Redhawks in the lead. The Redhawks came out of halftime full of energy. They started with a 3-pointer from Marland Smith who finished with 16 points and then followed with a massive dunk by Leon Powell that brought the crowd to their feet giving the Redhawks a 40-34 lead.

"We had an outstanding crowd tonight," Coach Nutt said. "Our guys notice that and really appreciate it."

The crowd was full of Redhawk pride with tons of cheers but Tennessee State would quiet the crowd as the tables began to turn for the worst for the Redhawks.

"When we are playing good, I think we get too comfortable and that's when turnovers start coming," Wilford said.

The Redhawks were up by six points with a little over 17 minutes left, but with four turnovers over the next few minutes Tennessee State began its comeback.

"We were getting the looks that we wanted but we just couldn't get them to fall," Smith said.

Led by Covington who scored 15 points in the second half, Tennessee State was able to tie the game at 58 with six minutes, 49 seconds left.

Tennessee State would get to the free throw line 26 times compared to the Redhawks one trip in the second half.

"[It was]disappointing at home that we were not able to get to the free throw line and even it out," Nutt said.

The Redhawks couldn't get to the free throw line or make a shot from anywhere as they went scoreless for four minutes. Wilford kept the Redhawks' hopes alive when he brought them within five points after he knocked down another 3-pointer with three minutes, 20 seconds left in the game.

Guard Lucas Nutt also added two late game 3-pointers of his own attempting to bring his team back but 17 turnovers and other missed opportunities would prove to be too much to overcome.

"They were getting all the loose balls," Wilford said. "It's like they wanted it more than we did."

This is the second loss in a row for the Redhawks after losing to Murray State Thursday. This loss puts the Redhawks in the fourth place in the Ohio Valley Conference, with a conference record of 7-4.

"We [have] got to bounce back," Coach Nutt said. "This is a small bump in the road."

The Redhawks take on UT Martin next at home at 7p.m. Feb 9.