SE Missouri close until No. 15 Memphis presses
MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Southeast Missouri stayed close to No. 15 Memphis until the midway point of the second half. That's when the Tigers put on the press.
"That's what good defensive teams do with tremendous, tremendous athletes," Southeast Missouri coach Dickie Nutt said of the press that helped cause 19 turnovers, leading to 24 Memphis points. "I mean (the Tigers) glide. They barely look like they are moving, and they are 100 miles an hour. That's that gift they have."
Freshman Antonius Cleveland gave Southeast Missouri (7-4) a second-half push, scoring 11 of his 14 points after the break to keep the visitors in contention.
"I thought it was outstanding, as a freshman, to come in here in front of this type of crowd on this type of stage to play like he did," Nutt said.
The 65 points by the Redhawks were 20 below their 85.6 average for the season. Nutt was not worried about the points. He wanted to concentrate on defense against the athletic Tigers.
"The thing we didn't want to do is take quick shots," he said. "Our defense hasn't been very good. We're holding people to about 44 percent. It needs to get to 40 (percent), and here we are facing a high octane type offense.
"We're more concerned with our defensive stops and rebounds. We think we can score, so we don't really worry too much about that," he said.
Memphis coach Josh Pastner said the difference was when he went to the press in the second half, taking the Redhawks out of their offense. Pastner has abandoned thoughts of pressing for 40 minutes, but still relies on the defense when needed.
Shaq Goodwin's offense also contributed to the win as he scored 20 points and grabbed eight rebounds, Goodwin made 10 of 12 shots as the Tigers (8-2) recovered from Tuesday night's 77-75 loss to No. 16 Florida at Madison Square Garden.
"It's important for Shaq to continue to be at a high level," Pastner said, noting the Gators double-teamed the sophomore forward. "He's important for us. But he's just got to keep it simple. There's times when he tried to make the home run play. But his energy is contagious. It's infectious, and we need him to be at a high level."
The Tigers unleashed their press early in the second half, leading to a couple of turnovers and a 10-point Memphis lead. Still, the Redhawks continued to hang in. Cleveland scored seven straight Southeast Missouri points during one stretch to keep the game close before Memphis put together a 7-0 run to take a 14-point lead with 6:04 left.
It was a good performance for the Redhawks, who have five players from Memphis, including four who started. But Nutt said it was important for the team to carry over the enthusiasm.
"This was not our Super Bowl game," Nutt said. "As much as we love to play Memphis and bring my guys back in here to play, this is not our Super Bowl game.
"We've got 21 games to go. I want the same intensity on a Monday night."
Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press
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