Southeast men's basketball falls after last second shot
Southeast Missouri State University guard Marland Smith made a 3-pointer with seven seconds left to tie the game and get the crowd of 2,484 people at the Show Me Center on its feet Saturday night. But with 1.7 seconds left on the clock Ball State guard Jauwan Scaife crushed Southeast's chance to send the game into overtime when he connected on a long three over the outstretched hand of Southeast forward Nino Johnson.
"I was thinking there was no way he could make it," Johnson said.
The Cardinals defeated the Redhawks 85-82 in the ESPN Ramada Worldwide BracketBusters.
"Tough way to lose, tough way to lose," Southeast coach Dickey Nutt said. "I certainly do give Ball State credit for a job well done. But the last five minutes were the type of intensity that we have strived for the entire year and we finally bottled that up a little bit and got to playing at the intensity level that we wanted to play in the last five minutes."
Southeast trailed 77-67 with 1 minute, 33 seconds left in the game. The Redhawks pulled within five after Southeast guard Corey Wilford made a 3-pointer and a layup. A pair of free throws by Ball State guard Marcus Posley extended the lead to seven, but Johnson was fouled near the basket and made the shot and the free throw. A three by Smith put the game at 80-78 with 45 seconds to play.
"A lot of those shots weren't there in the first half. I think it was some of them getting tired and I kept moving," Smith said. "A lot of the time coach kept saying, 'Just keep moving, keep moving.' And most of the time when teams play close I just try to keep moving. A couple of their guys got tired and we forced a couple steals, got them scrambling and that's where a lot of my open shots came from."
Johnson's free throw with 13 seconds left put the score at 82-79. He then deflected the Cardinals' inbounds pass, Wilford got the steal and passed it to Johnson. He kicked it out to Smith who drained his fifth 3-pointer of the game to tie it at 82 with 7 seconds.
"We started hitting a couple of shots and making a couple of stops, but we felt like the momentum had shifted and if we could've just got it to overtime I think that things might've been different," Nutt said. "I thought that when we were able to take a few points of a lead, maybe close to a double figure lead, we didn't capitalize on that. We didn't take advantage of that, we didn't extend that lead."
The Redhawks led by nine after they went on an 11-2 run in the first three minutes of the game and Ball State did not lead until 8:37 left in the game.
The Cardinals' outrebounded the Redhawks 46-36 and had 19 offensive rebounds. Ball State forward Matt Kamieniecki finished with 14 rebounds and 12 points and forward Chris Bond had 11 rebounds and 11 points.
"We sort of right now have to pick our poison because we do like our combination of four guards, but it makes us smaller and even though we're trying very hard to get bodies on people to block out, they're reaching over us, pushing us under, being more physical than we are and then getting tips," Nutt said.
Johnson led the Redhawks with 14 rebounds and he had 16 points. He also broke Southeast's single season block record. He had three against Ball State, which put him at 76 for the season.
"It means a lot but it just came, it wasn't a thing I was focusing on doing or anything," Johnson said. "I was just doing what coach puts emphasis on in practice, defense. And with me helping our guards out and they're helping me out, playing team defense, the blocks just happen."
Smith led all scorers with 21 points, including 19 in the second half. Southeast guard Nick Niemczyk finished with 13, including three 3-pointers. Wilford made four threes and finished with 15 points. Forward Tyler Stone finished with 12 points and eight rebounds and was 4-for-4 on free throws.
Ball State's Posley finished with 15 points, which he scored in the second half. Scaife made the game-winning shot and finished with 18 points.
Southeast's record falls to 14-14, but remains 6-8 in the Ohio Valley Conference. The Redhawks are in sixth place in the OVC standings and the top eight teams earn a spot in the OVC tournament.
The Redhawks' go on the road to face OVC opponents Austin Peay and Murray State at 7 p.m. Thursday and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, respectively.