Redhawks battle, but fall late in road test
Aside from perennial Ohio Valley Conference-power Belmont, no men’s basketball squad has enjoyed as much success as Southeast Missouri State has over the past two weeks.
The Redhawks entered Thursday’s game at Jacksonville State having won three of its last four games and that positive momentum showed throughout much of the game with the Gamecocks.
However, Southeast Missouri State allowed the Gamecocks to methodically pull away over the final half and ultimately fell 65-58.
The loss was the 14th in as many true road games for Southeast (7-21, 3-12 OVC) this season.
The Redhawks seized some early momentum by taking a 13-6 lead following a 3-pointer from redshirt sophomore guard Nygal Russell. However, Jacksonville State (11-17, 6-9) stormed back to take a 27-18 advantage with a 21-5 run over an 8:43 stretch.
The teams battled closely throughout much of the second half before the Gamecocks ran off on a 13-4 run and stretched their margin to 55-45 with just over six minutes remaining.
A 3-pointer from sophomore guard Alex Caldwell pulled Southeast to within 57-54 with just over four minutes on the clock, but Jacksonville responded with a 5-0 run and held on from there.
The Redhawks turned in a strong defensive performance in limiting the Gamecocks to just 38.9 percent shooting overall, including an anemic 3 of 17 from beyond the arc.
However, the Gamecocks outshot Southeast 27-13 at the line and beat the Redhawks on the glass 37-28.
Caldwell led Southeast with 13 points, while fifth-year senior Quatarrius Wilson added 12 and classmate Skyler Hogan knocked in 11.
Sophomore forward Sage Tolbert pulled down a team-high six rebounds and also matched Caldwell with a team-best three assists.
The loss keeps the Redhawks in last place in the conference, one game in back of SIUE and UT Martin (4-11 each).
Southeast is three games out of the eighth and final spot for the league tournament with just three games remaining.
Southeast travels to Tennessee Tech Saturday at 4 p.m.