But as has been almost par for the course this season, Powell finds himself playing limited minutes after getting into early foul trouble. In fact, Powell hasn’t played more than 25 minutes in a single game yet.
Today, he played just 19. And SEMO earned a 7 point win over a Miami (OH) team that features a likely future pro in Julian Mavunga.
“I couldn’t be more proud of our team” said SEMO head coach Dickie Nutt after the game. “Miami of Ohio is an outstanding basketball team. They got a pro. People that didn’t get to see him play, they missed something.”
“He’s a pro,” SEMO guard Marcus Brister said after the game. “From what we experienced and what we saw on film, he plays 40 minutes a game.”
The Missouri version of the Redhawks rode hot shooting from guard Nick Niemczyk in the second half, overcoming a 13 point 1st half deficit on their way to their 3rd win of the season.
“I think you noticed tonight when our bigs got the ball, there were 4 guys touching Leon,” Nutt said. “They really zeroed in on the bigs, they really thought the bigs were going to be the key to the game, and for the most part for us it has been.”
But at the half, it didn’t look like any SEMO player was going to have a hot night.
SEMO shot just 30% from the field in the first, including just 1 of 10 from 3-point range. As the team, they scored just 22 points, with no player scoring more than 4. Powell played just 8 minutes, leaving the game after his second, and later his 3rd foul.
“I thought the first half we played a little nervous,” Nutt said. “We couldn’t buy a shot, couldn’t get a shot to go in, we played nervous.”
But things would change quickly after half.
SEMO shot 65% from the field in the 2nd, and held the Ohio version of the Redhawks to just 32% shooting, as SEMO took control and pushed the lead to as large as 9 with 8 minutes left in the half.
Miami (Ohio) would make a run, hitting some big shots down the stretch to bring the game within two. But SEMO did something else that cost them a game earlier this season: hit free throws.
Dickie Nutt will make his first trip to his old school, as the Redhawks travel to Arkansas State on Tuesday.
“I know my players have mentioned it, about the importance of the game,” Nutt said. “It doesn’t matter whose the coach down there, or whether I was there 20 years, or 13 years as a head coach, this is my family here. This is just another game for us.”
“This is my home now.”