SOUTHEAST ROUNDUP: Men's basketball standout Antonius Cleveland earns spot in finals of Dark Horse Dunker contest
Southeast Missouri State men's basketball standout Antonius Cleveland advanced to the finals of the Dark Horse Dunker competition on Thursday, placing him one round away from booking the last spot in the Slam Dunk Championship.
Cleveland edged out his semifinal matchup against St. Bonaventure's Denzel Gregg, winning by a 4-percent margin. In the finals, the 6-foot-6 Cleveland will face Northwestern State's Zeek Woodley, who defeated Chicago State's Trayvon Palmer on the opposite side of the bracket.
The contest is a digital media competition that started on Feb. 14, matching up 16 of the top college dunkers in bracket play to determine a final winner. Fans can begin voting in the final round at 1 p.m. today at DarkHorseDunker.com.
The winner will be selected to compete in the State Farm College Slam Dunk & 3-Point Championships, which will air live on ESPN during Final Four weekend at 9 p.m. on March 30 in Phoenix.
Madeline Krumrey and Alexis Estes combined on a six-hit shutout for the Redhawks, who defeated Loyola-Chicago 2-0 on Thursday afternoon in the opening day of the Leon Smith Classic in Oxford, Alabama.
Rachel Anderson provided her team-high fifth triple of the season for Southeast (11-4) with two outs in the bottom of the first inning, sending Mykaela Arrellanes across home plate for a 1-0 lead.
Both teams stranded the bases loaded in the fourth, and the Redhawks pushed their advantage to 2-0 in the bottom of the fifth when Arellanes doubled to center, scoring Madison Harris all the way from first base.
Krumrey was lifted in favor of Estes with two runners on and one out in the top of the fifth. Estes issued a walk to the first batter she faced before getting a strikeout to escape the bases-loaded jam.
The pitching win went to Krumrey, who improved to 6-2 on the season. She struck out three batters and walked four, allowing only four hits in 5 1/3 innings of work. Estes threw the final 1 2/3 innings for Southeast, finishing with three strikeouts and one walk. She was credited with her second save of the season.
Keenan Dolezal was tagged with her first loss in the circle this season, falling to 7-1. She scattered seven hits, allowed two earned runs and finished with three strikeouts and two walks in five innings of work. Kiley Jones threw a scoreless inning of relief for Loyola-Chicago (14-2), which has lost two straight after starting the season with 14 wins in a row.
Harris and Anderson each had a pair of hits to lead the Redhawks at the plate.
Southeast returns to action in the Leon Smith Classic at 3:30 p.m. today against Valparaiso.