Southeast Missouri State men's basketball returns home to take on Tennessee Tech

Monday, January 9, 2017
Southeast Missouri State's Antonius Cleveland takes a shot during Saturday's game against Belmont in Nashville, Tennessee.
Mary Alice Truitt ~ Special to the Southeast Missourian

The Southeast Missouri State men's basketball team returns home following a two-game road trip to take on Tennessee Tech at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Show Me Center.

The Redhawks (6-12, 1-2 Ohio Valley Conference) will take on their fourth straight OVC East Division opponent.

The Golden Eagles (7-11, 3-0), who are 2-7 on the road this season, lost five games in a row to close out their non-conference slate but opened OVC play with three straight wins.

TTU is one of two teams in the league that remain unbeaten in conference play. The Golden Eagles' most recent victory was a 71-67 win over visiting Murray State on Saturday.

Junior Aleksa Jugovic leads the way for the Golden Eagles, averaging a team-leading 16.1 points and 34.4 minutes per game this season. The 6-foot-3 guard has started all 18 games this season.

Kajon Mack is generating 11.8 points, 4.6 rebounds and a team-high 2.8 assists for TTU. The 6-4 senior guard was named OVC Newcomer of the Week after averaging 16.5 ppg and 5.0 rpg in a pair of wins last week for the Golden Eagles.

Senior guard Hakeem Rogers is averaging only 19.6 minutes per contest this season for TTU but is third on the team in scoring with 10.0 ppg.

The Golden Eagles are hauling in an average of 37.7 rebounds per game and are shooting 32.4 percent from 3-point range. Jugovic has been the team's most dynamic scorer from long range, shooting 38.5 percent and averaging 7.2 attempts per game.

TTU is averaging 72.8 ppg and is giving up an average of 71.1 ppg.

Southeast will be looking to exend its current home winning streak to three games. The Redhawks are 5-2 at the Show Me Center this year.

Southeast dropped an 87-75 decision Saturday at Belmont to wrap up a two-game trip to Nashville, Tennessee, one that began with a 65-62 loss Thursday at Tennessee State.

Saturday's game featured 12 ties and nine lead changes before the Bruins used a 14-2 run late in the second half to pull away with the win. Belmont shot 65.4 percent from the floor in the second half, during which it combined to knock down seven 3-pointers.

Senior Antonius Cleveland led the Redhawks in scoring twice last week, including a 24-point performance against Belmont. The 6-6 guard is averaging a team-high 17.8 ppg to go along with 4.7 rpg.

Forward Milos Vranes was absent from Thursday's game due to a hamstring injury but returned to contribute seven points and three boards in 17 minutes of action off the bench against Belmont.

Senior Trey Kellum, a 6-7 forward, also continues to recover from an injury (knee). He's producing 11.7 points and a team-high 5.9 rebounds in 13 games this season.

Freshman guard Denzel Mahoney is one of three Redhawks to start all 18 games this season. He's averaging 11.7 points and 3.8 rebounds per game.

Southeast is scoring an average of 73.1 ppg but is allowing opposing teams to score 74.0 ppg.

The Redhawks lead the league in total steals (145) and fewest turnovers (11.9 per game). They've forced an OVC-leading 288 turnovers through 18 games.

The Golden Eagles hold a 32-15 lead in the all-time series between the two programs. Southeast was smothered by TTU in a 91-55 decision last season in Cookeville, Tennessee, but has won three of the last four meetings.