Delta News-Citizen

SEMO men’s basketball team manhandled by St. Louis 78-48

Tuesday, December 26, 2017
Jonathan Dalton of Southeast Missouri State stretches out to shoot a lay-up between Saint Louis's Javon Bess, left, and Rashed Anthony during a game Friday, Dec. 22, 2017, at Chaifetz Arena in St. Louis.
Ben Matthews ~ Southeast Missourian

ST. LOUIS, Mo. — The Southeast Missouri State men’s basketball team looked ready to head home for the holidays during Friday night’s game at Chaifetz Arena.

And the Saint Louis Billikens were relentless in taking advantage.

Davell Roby scored a game-high 23 points, and the Bills finished with a 30-point advantage in the paint, cruising to a 78-48 rout of the Redhawks.

It’s the third straight loss for Southeast, which wraps up its non-conference schedule with a 6-7 record, while SLU improves to 7-6 on the year.

“This game was all about paint touches. ... We wanted them to have to take contested jump shots, and when we did make them take contested jump shots, another paint touch happened because of an offensive rebound as a result of that,” Redhawks coach Rick Ray said. “I just told our guys, ‘Obviously your minds are on Christmas, being at home with your families, presents. Just go do that. We need to clear our minds and come back in here and be coachable and be disciplined.’

“Right now, we’re an undisciplined team, both on the offensive end and on the defensive end, because Saint Louis is a quality team, but they’re not 30 points better than us.”

The Bills scored 28 of their 48 points in the paint in the first half, while the Redhawks were held to just 18 points in the paint for the entire game.

Jordan Goodwin finished with 20 points and eight rebounds for SLU. Javon Bess chipped in 14 points, 10 boards and five assists for the hosts, while Aaron Hines added 12 points off the bench.

As a team, SLU shot 55.2 percent (32 of 58) from the floor, including 40 percent (8 of 20) from 3-point range. Both percentages were the Bills’ second-best single-game clips this season.

“They were self-inflicted wounds,” Ray said. “The things that we talked about that were going to happen and that happened tonight, our guys are well aware of. It’s not like we’re playing a team that shoots a lot of 3s, and then all of a sudden, they’re killing us in the paint. We’ve got to make those adjustments.

“We knew what this team was all about, and we just simply didn’t go out there and execute the game plan.”

SLU, which never trailed in the game, jumped out to an 8-2 lead when Goodwin converted a three-point play with 17 minutes, 28 seconds left in the first half.

A 3-pointer from the left corner by Daniel Simmons capped a 9-4 swing for Southeast, cutting the hosts’ lead to 12-11 at the 11:36 mark, but SLU responded with a 13-4 burst that ended when Jalen Johnson buried a trey from the left wing, extending the Bills’ lead to 25-15 with 6:42 left until halftime.

Southeast trimmed its deficit to six points, 25-19, on a layup by Simmons at the 5:25 mark, but that was SEMO’s final field goal of the half. SLU countered with a 10-2 swing that opened up a 14-point lead before a pair of free throws by Denzel Mahoney pulled the visitors within 35-23 at the break.

The Redhawks connected on just two of their final 11 field-goal attempts of the half. They were 1 of 11 (9 percent) from beyond the arc in the first 20 minutes.

“They’re a good defensive team. There’s no question about that, but we settled,” Ray said. “If you go back and look at the 3s that we took, it was contested 3s and 3s that weren’t in the flow of our offense.”

The Bills carried their momentum into the second half and never let up.

Roby, who scored all but two of his points in the final 20 minutes, hit back-to-back 3s to open up an 18-point lead before a 6-2 run by Southeast closed the gap to 43-29 on a layup by Mark Laros with 17:02 remaining.

That’s as close as the Redhawks were able to get the rest of the way. SLU went on a 16-5 run that culminated on a baseline drive to the basket by Goodwin, pushing the hosts ahead comfortably at 59-34 with 10:11 left on the clock.

“I just don’t think we were ready mentally,” said Mahoney, who led Southeast with 12 points. “I think we were too worried about going home and all that other stuff besides the game. I think that’s what led to the blowout.”

Meanwhile, the Redhawks’ shooting woes persisted. They finished with a 32.1-percent clip (17 of 53) from the floor.

“I think we did a poor job of executing the game plan. ... And it started with our offense,” Ray said.

Freshman Ledarrius Brewer added eight points for Southeast, while Simmons contributed eight points off the bench. Redhawks freshman Justin Carpenter had four points, all of which came at the free-throw line, to go along with seven rebounds. He finished 0 of 5 from the field.

Southeast turned the ball over 11 times, leading to 20 points for SLU. The Bills finished with an 18-8 advantage in second-chance points and didn’t allow the Redhawks to score a single point on the fast break.

“We allowed direct drives into the paint. We allowed post touches into the paint, and we allowed offensive rebounds. And that’s a paint touch,” Ray said. “A lot of times, we were running them down because of what happened for us on the offensive end. We just didn’t have any discipline on the offensive end.”

Moving forward

A 30-point loss to conclude a three-game skid doesn’t bode well for a team that enters conference play with a matchup against the preseason favorites.

But it does offer a fresh slate.

The Redhawks begin Ohio Valley Conference action against defending regular-season champion Belmont at 7:30 p.m. Thursday.

“Our guys have got to figure out whether or not they want to do the things in order for us to be a good team or not,” Ray said. “We’re not asking them to make super-human efforts or do anything beyond what they can do, and so we’ve just got to figure out the simple things.

“The simple plays are going to make us good, and right now, we’re trying to hit home runs.”

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