Butler blows out Redhawk hoops from opening tip

Southeast Missouri State sophomore guard Rob Martin handles the ball against Butler on Friday at Hinkle Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.
Tom Davis ~

INDIANAPOLIS - The positive of the Southeast Missouri State men’s basketball program is that it is finished for the 2023-24 season having to deal with “guarantee games” played on the road.

Five days after opening the year with a 21-point loss at Grand Canyon – albeit, being paid money to play the game – the Redhawks traveled to Big East program Butler on Friday and got walloped from the opening tip in a 91-56 defeat at Hinkle Fieldhouse.

The Bulldogs (2-0) made 6 of their initial 7 shots, and drew a foul with two made free throws on another possession, to jump out to a 17-5 lead and were never threatened by SEMO all evening in front of 7,000-plus fans.

“It was a very, very slow start to say the least,” fourth-year Redhawk coach Brad Korn said. “That was probably the most disappointing thing about the game.”

Slow starts have been a theme with the Redhawks (0-2) through the first week of this season.

Against Grand Canyon, SEMO dug itself a 10-point hole in less than three minutes, and against Butler, it was even worse, as the hosts led 55-21 at halftime.

“There are always things within the game that you think that you can do better,” Korn said. “But if you start like that against any kind of an opponent, especially Butler, and Grand Canyon started the same kind of way…

“You don’t have to play perfect, but you can’t play that poorly and think that you have a chance.”

There was little that the Redhawks could do at either end of the court against the Bulldogs.

Butler outrebounded SEMO 47-36 and made nearly half of their shots (48 percent) for the game.

To the Redhawks’ credit, they did outrebound the Bulldogs at the offensive end of the floor, with newcomers TJ Biel and David Idada grabbing a combined seven offensive boards.

“We won 19 games (last year) and went to the NCAA Tournament,” Korn said, “Butler is going to have a scouting report on you, and you have to come to play.”

Only one SEMO player scored in double figures, as redshirt sophomore Adam Larson scored 11 points off the bench in 14 minutes.

Larson also led the Redhawks in scoring at Grand Canyon with 13 points.

Sophomore guard Rob Martin added nine points and five assists on Friday while junior guard Aquan Smart (eight points), sophomore wing Braxton Stacker (nine points and five rebounds), Biel (six rebounds), and Idada (five rebounds) also produced.

“We didn’t give ourselves a chance with the first 10 minutes of the game like that,” Korn said. “You are fighting uphill the whole rest of the way, and shooting as poorly as we did.”

The Redhawks made just 29 percent of their shots overall and 23.8 percent from 3-point range (5 of 21).

SEMO will open the home portion of the 2023-24 regular season on Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. when they host Evansville (2-0) at 6:30 p.m. at the Show Me Center.

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