MENâ€™S BASKETBALL STORMS BACK, BUT FALLS IN THE END TO SOUTHEAST MISSOURI, 77-76
Junior forward John Dickson scored a career-high 24 points on 10-of-19 shooting from the field
SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Sacramento State nearly overcame a 10-point deficit with 4:39 to play, but a free throw from Lucas Nutt with 3.3 seconds remaining proved to be the game winner and give Southeast Missouri a 77-76 victory over Sacramento State in a non-conference men’s basketball game Thursday evening at The Nest.
In a game that saw Southeast Missouri convert on each of its first nine three-point attempts of the first half and helped the Redhawks build a 44-33 halftime lead, it was a free throw from Leon Powell that gave the Redhawks a 74-64 lead with 4:39 remaining in the contest. From there, Sacramento State would go on a 12-2 run, capped by a jumper in the lane from John Dickson to tie the score at 76-76 with 38 seconds to play.
After a timeout, Nutt dribbled the shot clock all the way down before driving hard to the bucket. Dickson stepped in trying to draw the charge, but was whistled for a block with 3.3 seconds to play, giving Nutt a pair of free throws. After making the first freebie to give Southeast Missouri a 77-76 lead, Nutt missed the second on purpose. Dickson grabbed the rebound, raced to the halfcourt line and launched a prayer that failed to draw iron as time expired.
The Redhawks opened the game on fire, converting each of their first nine three-point attempts, including 6-of-6 from Marland Smith and 3-of-3 from Nick Niemczyk. In fact, 27 of the Southeast Missouri’s first 32 points of the game came from beyond the three-point line. Mercifully, Southeast finally missed their first three-point attempt by Smith with 9:07 left in the first half. By that time, however, the Redhawks had built a 32-24 lead, and an eventual Corey Wilford three ball with 20 seconds left gave the Redhawks a 44-33 halftime lead.
Southeast Missouri, which went 11-of-15 from distance in the first half, would never trail the final 30:44 of the contest. That included holding a lead of at least seven points the first 16:23 of the second half, until a Joe Eberhard three-pointer got the Hornets within five points (74-69) with 3:37 left. During that 12-2 run that nearly got Sacramento State over the hump, the Hornets received points from four different players, including five free throws from freshman point guard Dylan Garrity.
With the win, Southeast Missouri improved to 5-7 and picked up its first road win of the season (1-5). The two teams were playing for the second time ever, which includes a Redhawk win last season in Cape Girardeau as part of the ESPN BracketBusters event. With the loss, Sacramento State had its two-game winning streak snapped while falling to 5-6 overall and 4-2 at home. The Hornets will now enter Big Sky Conference play next week with games at Northern Arizona (Dec. 29) and Weber State (Dec. 31).
Sacramento State finished the game shooting 50.9 percent (27-53) from the field and 78.3 percent (18-23) from the free throw line. Southeast Missouri shot 48.3 percent (28-58) from the field, including 48.0 percent (12-25) from the three-point line. The Redhawks shot just 1-of-10 from beyond the arc in the second half. Although the Hornets held a 33-30 margin in the rebounding department, it was Southeast Missouri that converted 11 offensive rebounds into 19 second-chance points. Sixteen of those second-chance points came in a second half that saw the Hornets outscore the Redhawks, 43-33.
Both teams combined for just 14 turnovers, including eight from the Redhawks and a season-low six from the Hornets.
Dickson had a major hand in keeping the Hornets in the game, as he scored 22 of his career-high 24 points in the second half on 9-of-13 shooting. In fact, at one point, Dickson converted on eight straight field goal attempts, and he finished the game shooting 10-of-19 from the field. The 24 points eclipsed his previous career high of 22, set during his freshman season at Montana State.
Joining Dickson in double figures for Sacramento State were Eberhard (15 points, team-best eight rebounds in 39 minutes), center Josh McCarver (career-high 12 points in 18 minutes) and Garrity (career-high 11 points and career-high tying 12 assists). Garrity was impressive all evening as the true freshman had 12 assists with no turnovers in 32 minutes. Forward Walter Jackson added six points and six rebounds, and center Konner Veteto had six rebounds.
For Southeast, Smith finished with a team-best 21 points (18 in the first half) and finished 7-of-10 from the field as all 10 of his attempts came from beyond the arc. He was joined in double figures by Tyler Stone (16 points, nine rebounds), Niemczyk (14 points, 4-of-8 from distance) and Michael Porter (13 points, seven rebounds). Nutt finished with three points, four rebounds and eight assists without a turnover.
Had Sacramento State won this evening, it would have marked the team’s first three-game winning streak since the 2005-06 season.