Porous defense proves costly in latest SEMO hoop loss

Southeast Missouri State sophomore guard Alex Caldwell

The Morehead State men’s basketball team had lost four consecutive games and ranked as the worst offensive team in the Ohio Valley Conference entering Thursday’s league contest with Southeast Missouri State. However, there apparently is no better cure for an anemic offense than facing a poor defense.

The Eagles played statistically well at the offensive end and easily beat Southeast Missouri State 90-74 in Morehead, Ky.

Morehead State (10-12, 4-5 OVC) was averaging a league-worst 65.5 points per game entering Thursday’s game, but matched that total with 12:37 remaining in the game.

The Eagles had made a league-worst 41.9 percent of their shots this season but scorched the nets at a rate of 50.8 percent against the Redhawks (4-18, 0-9).

The lack of defense on the part of Southeast was evident all over the court.

Morehead State was by far the worst 3-point-shooting team in the OVC (26.6 percent), but made 46 percent Thursday.

Southeast led 11-10 early in the contest after junior forward Isaiah Gable made a lay-in. However, as has been routine for the Redhawks this season, they would go on a scoring drought that essentially cost them any chance at a win.

Over the next 6:30, the Eagles outscored Southeast 23-3 to take a 33-14 lead.

To the Redhawks’ credit, they didn’t fold.

Southeast fought back to trim the margin to 39-32 before Morehead took a 12-point lead (48-36) into the break.

The Eagles stretched their advantage to as many as 18 early in the second half before Southeast pulled to within 71-62 with just over seven minutes left in the game. However, an 8-0 Eagle run sealed the victory.

Morehead has won just 10 games overall but is 9-2 at home.

Conversely, the Redhawks have not won a true road game this season and remain the only winless team in the OVC.

Three Southeast players notched career-marks in the loss.

Sophomore guard Alex Caldwell hit half of his 20 shots and 7 of 8 free throws to score 29 points. He also grabbed five boards.

Redshirt freshman Jordan Love made his first career start and scored 14 points. His 29 minutes was also a career mark.

Redshirt sophomore wing Nygal Russell came off the bench and finished with 16 points in 28 minutes.

Sophomore forward Sage Tolbert matched Caldwell’s five rebounds to lead the Redhawks. However, Tolbert scored just three points (missing all three of his shot attempts) and fouled out in 23 minutes.

Senior center Quatarrius Wilson also fouled out in just 13 minutes, while scoring just two points and grabbing four rebounds.

Freshman guard DQ Nicholas sat out the game with a concussion and is questionable for Saturday’s game at Eastern Kentucky (3 p.m.).

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