Caldwell's jumper misses as Southeast men's basketball loses a heartbreaker on Senior Night

Redhawks coach Rick Ray, whose team has missed the postseason four out of the five years of his Southeast tenure.
Southeast Missouri State University

No berth in the postseason was at stake.

The Southeast Missouri men played for pride Thursday, diving for loose balls, tipping passes and forcing turnovers.

The game came down to a final Alex Caldwell jumper at the buzzer which just missed as time expired – sending home a disappointed Senior Night crowd of 1,775.

Ray's postgame take

“Alex is by far our best ballhandler,” said coach Rick Ray, “but we need a bigger, stronger guy sometimes to get the right touch.”

The conclusion mirrored a season in which Southeast, already eliminated from a berth in the upcoming Ohio Valley Conference tournament, lost no fewer than eight contests by five points or fewer.

In the end, it wasn’t quite enough.

The Redhawks fell on Senior Night in the final home game of the 2019-20 season, 72-70, to Eastern Illinois.

Two seniors feted

It was the last contest at the Show Me Center for Quatarrius Wilson and Skylar Hogan, both of whom finished in double figures for the losing Redhawks.

Southeast led in the first minute by five points, but the Panthers recovered to post a ten-point advantage by intermission, dominating until the waning moments of the game.

End-of-game heroics fall short

SEMO took at 68-67 lead with 2:00 left only to see EIU leading scorer Josiah Wallace, who posted 29 in the win, hit two from the charity stripe with 1:40 on the clock.

SEMO’s Alex Caldwell missed a two-pointer and Wallace responded with a jumper to lead by three.

With five seconds remaining, Caldwell hit a layup to cut it to 71-70. One EIU free throw later, it was 72-70.

Caldwell’s last-gasp desperation heave fell short and Rick Ray’s team went down to defeat for the 23rd time.

“We had no one who could (effectively) guard Wallace,” said Ray. “Plus (EIU) scored 19 points off our turnovers.”

The numbers

Southeast (7-23, 3-14 OVC) put three players in double figures.

Wilson finished with 19, with Sage Tolbert and Hogan had 16 and 14 points respectively.

Southeast shot 40% compared to 43% for EIU.

The Redhawks had one bright spot from a scoring perspective, shooting 79% from the free-throw line.

SEMO’s Tolbert had a double-double as he also nabbed 14 rebounds.

Wrapping up

The Redhawks wrap up the season Sunday at UT-Martin (8-20, 4-13).

Eastern Illinois 36 36 – 72

Southeast Missouri 26 44 – 70.

(EASTERN ILLINOIS) Josiah Wallace 29, Marvin Johnson 11, Mack Smith 8, Kashawn Charles 7, Jorda Skipper-Brown 6, Shareef Smith 6, JaQualis Matlock 3, George Dixon 2. (3-pointers: M. Smith 2, S. Smith, Charles, Johnson. Fouled out: Skipper-Brown.)

(SOUTHEAST MISSOURI) Quatarrius Wilson 19, Sage Tolbert 16, Skyler Hogan 14, Alex Caldwell 8, Nygal Russell 6, Isaiah Gable 3, Jordan Love 2, DQ Nicholas 2. 3-pointers: Hogan 2, Russell, Caldwell, Gable. Fouled out: none.)

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