MENâ€™S HOOPS FALLS IN BRACKETBUSTERS GAME AT SOUTHEAST MISSOURI
CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. -- Southeast Missouri outscored Sacramento State, 26-13, over the final 11 minutes to break open what had been a close game and defeat the Hornets, 67-52, Saturday evening in a non-conference men’s basketball game at the Show Me Center.
The Hornets and Redhawks were playing for the first time ever, and the game was part of the ninth-annual ESPN BracketBusters event which pits potential NCAA Tournament hopefuls against each other Feb. 18-20. A total of 114 teams from 13 conferences were selected to participate in BracketBusters, including all nine Big Sky Conference squads. Sacramento State was making its first-ever appearance in the event.
Tonight’s game featured five ties and four lead changes as neither squad led by more than seven points the first 32 minutes of the contest. Sacramento State took a game-high seven point lead (19-12) with 10:16 left in the first half only to see Southeast Missouri respond with a 13-0 run to take a 25-19 lead with 4:51 remaining.
The Redhawks would eventually take a 29-27 lead into halftime, and neither team led by more than four points the first 10 minutes of the second half. However, the final 10 minutes of the game were dominated by the Redhawks as the Hornets struggled offensively and defensively.
After a pair of free throws from senior Sultan Toles-Bey cut the Redhawk lead to 41-39 with 12:17 to play, Sacramento State would convert just six more field goals the rest of the way. In fact, during Southeast Missouri’s 26-13 run to close the game, the Hornets shot 6-of-22 from the field and 1-of-4 from the free throw line (including two misses on the front end of 1-and-1 situations). Meanwhile, the Redhawks buried four three-pointers during the run, and scored nearly 40 percent of their points during the game’s final 11 minutes and three seconds.
Sacramento State shot just 35.1 percent (20-57) from the field and 12.5 percent (2-16) from the three-point line. The two three-pointers were the second lowest output of the season, and the field goal percentage was the sixth lowest output. The Hornets shot just 9-of-28 from the floor (.321) and were outscored, 38-25, in the second half. Sacramento State did commit just eight turnovers the entire game and limited the Redhawks to zero fast break points.
Southeast Missouri State (9-19), which had just upset Murray State at home on Wednesday night, shot 46.2 percent (24-for-52) from the field, 47.4 percent (9-for-19) from the three-point line and a perfect 10-for-10 from the free throw line.
Sacramento State (7-18) lost for just the third time in its last seven games while falling to 1-13 on the road. The Hornets have three huge games remaining on the regular season schedule, beginning next week with their final home contests against Northern Arizona (Feb. 24) and Weber State (Feb. 26). The top six teams in the nine-member Big Sky reach the league’s postseason event, and four teams are battling for the final two spots. That includes Montana State (5-8), Eastern Washington (5-8), Sacramento State (4-9) and Idaho State (4-9).
Four Southeast Missouri players scored in double figures, comprised of Lucas Nutt (17 points, three three-pointers), Marland Smith (16 points, four three-pointers), Leon Powell (15 points, game-high seven rebounds) and Anthony Allison (13 points, two three-pointers). The trio of Nutt, Allison and Smith combined to hoist all 19 of the team’s three-point attempts.
Sacramento State was led by sophomore John Dickson, who scored 13 points while adding three assists in 28 minutes. Dickson has now scored in double figures in 13 of the last 14 games while leading the team in scoring on six occasions during that span. Toles-Bey had nine points, four rebounds and a Hornet season-high four steals. Senior Duro Bjegovic added eight points and six rebounds, and juniors Walter Jackson and Alpha N'Diaye both finished with seven points and six rebounds. Jackson added a career-high three blocked shots.
Sixteen of the Hornets’ 33 rebounds came on the offensive glass, including four from N’Diaye and three from Jackson. Sacramento State has now grabbed at least 16 offensive rebounds in four of the last five games.