Southeast men's basketball loses third straight
Southeast Missouri State University's Corey Wilford finished with a game-high and career-high 27 points against Eastern Kentucky, but it wasn't enough to win the game, and it didn't appear to mean much to him.
"I really ain't worried about it. We lost," Wilford said about his career-high scoring. "This is my career high in losing, for a season."
The Redhawks' record falls to 11-13 and 3-7 in Ohio Valley Conference play with the loss. Southeast has lost three consecutive games -- seven of the last eight -- and are tied for third in the OVC West Division.
"We haven't even looked at it. That's not what we're worried about," Southeast's Tyler Stone said about the OVC standings. "We're just trying to do what we do and try to get wins. It's tough, it's tough losing on your home floor like that, but we've just go to keep our heads up."
The score was close for most of the game. The Redhawks led 40-38 at halftime and extended it to their largest lead of six at the start of the second half.
Southeast's last lead came with 15 minutes, 53 seconds to play. A jump shot by Stone put the Redhawks up 47-46. The Colonels went on a 10-4 run over the next three and a half minutes. During the run Glenn Cosey inbounded the ball under the Colonels' basket for an alley-oop by Marcus Lewis that brought the Eastern Kentucky bench to its feet.
Southeast cut the Colonels' lead to one point with 9:24 to play, but Eastern Kentucky's Mike DiNunno scored 10 of the Colonel's last 21 points before fouling out with 51 seconds left.
"He took over late in the game and we had no answer to him," Southeast coach Dickey Nutt said about DiNunno. "If we had it over we'd try to throw another guy at him, probably put a bigger person on him or try to double team and get the ball out of his hands, but when the game was on the line he was the one hitting shots and that was a tough match for us."
DiNunno finished with 18 points. The Colonels were led by Cosey with 21. Tarius Johnson scored 14 and Lewis added 10.
Eastern Kentucky's Eric Stutz finished with 12 points and a game-high 7 blocks. Nutt believes Stutz is a good player, but that Southeast's post players played well and most of his points came from their defensive rotations and free throws.
"Our bigs have kind of been dominated throughout conference play and when I say dominated I mean we've just kind of been manhandled. We hadn't been able to stop people," Nutt said. "But this was a different game. I thought our bigs did a good job in there. I thought our presence was good. I thought we were big and physical in there."
Stone finished with 16 points, five rebounds and three blocks for the Redhawks. A.J. Jones added nine points and Marland Smith had seven.
Nino Johnson scored three points and had five assists, three blocks and six rebounds. He did not start due to a violation of team rules.
"He's struggling a little bit. He was suspended from the lineup tonight for team rules, but Nino has to understand he's growing. He's just young," Nutt said. "I thought he played well tonight. I thought he played really good, played within himself. Defensively he did a good job."
Southeast's next games are against SIU Edwardsville and Eastern Illinois at 7 p.m. Thursday and 5:30 p.m. Saturday, respectively. Both games are at the Show Me Center.
"I think we're at the point in the season where every game is a 'must' game. Every game is a must win game from here on out," Nutt said. "You don't say that early in the season, or early in conference play, but you're in the second part of your season right now. You've got two at home and then you go to places that are very difficult for the last four.
"I think we're still a good team. Have we shown it? Have we been able to count the wins? No, we haven't, but I do feel like we've got a chance where we've just got to keep plugging."