Jauwan Scaife scored 18 points and buried the game-winning three-pointer with 1.7 seconds left to lead Ball State (11-14) to an 85-82 win over Southeast Missouri (14-15) Saturday night in the ESPN Ramada Worldwide BracketBusters.
Southeast erased a 10-point deficit in the final 1:33 with a ferocious comeback, but came up short in its final home game of the season.
The Redhawks were down, 77-67, when Corey Wilford scored five-straight points to cut BSU’s lead in half.
After Chris Bond hit a free throw to give the Cardinals an 80-75 advantage, Marland Smith answered with a three to narrow the lead to two with 45 seconds.
BSU later took a four-point lead on Scaife’s two free throws 19 seconds later and Nino Johnson followed with a free throw to slice the lead to 82-79.
Johnson then tipped a BSU in-bounds pass and Wilford came up with a steal. Wilford passed the ball to Johnson who then dished off to Smith for a wide open three which knotted the game at 82-82 with seven seconds remaining.
Immediately after the Cardinals took a 30-second timeout, Scaife came off a screen on the right perimeter and nailed his game-winner with Johnson defending.
“It’s a tough way to lose. I give Ball State credit for a job well done,” said Southeast head coach Dickey Nutt. “The last five minutes was the level of intensity we have strived for all year. We felt like the momentum shifted our way and we were hoping to get to overtime.”
BSU trailed for 31:23 before Bond’s jumper gave the Cardinals their first lead of the game at 56-54 with 8:37 left in the second half. After that, BSU never relinquished its lead to grab the win in the first-ever meeting between these clubs.
Southeast shot 52 percent (13-of-25) from the field and used more hot shooting from long range, sticking 6-of-11 three-pointers in the first half.
The Redhawks opened the game with an 11-2 run, as Wilford buried two threes and A.J. Jones added one to get Southeast a nine-point advantage nearly three minutes in.
After Scaife’s jumper knotted the score at 24-24, Southeast managed to build a six-point lead when Johnson threw down a dunk (33-27) and Nick Niemczyk buried a three (36-30) in the last four minutes.
Niemczyk then knocked down another trey to send Southeast into the locker room with a 39-34 lead, marking the sixth-straight game where the Redhawks have led at the half.
Scaife shot 6-of-15 from the field, made two threes and sunk a perfect 4-of-4 free throws to lead BSU. Matt Kamieniecki (12 points, 14 rebounds) and Bond (11 points, 11 rebounds) followed with a double-double apiece, while Marcus Posley chipped in 15 points.
BSU outrebounded Southeast, 46-36, and finished wiht a 19-10 advantage on the offensive glass.
Smith, who scored 19 second-half points and made all five of his threes in the final period, led the Redhawks with 21 points. He shot 7-of-10 from the field and 5-of-7 from downtown in his last home game at Southeast.
Johnson, who broke the school’s single-season record in blocked shots, added a double-double 16 points and 14 rebounds. He also dished out three assists and had three blocks.
Wilford contributed 15 points, Niemczyk had 13 and Tyler Stone contributed 12 to round out Southeast’s double-digit scorers.
The Redhawks fell to 1-7 all-time in BracketBuster games. That record includes an 0-5 mark against Mid-American Conference schools.
Southeast hits the road for its last two Ohio Valley Conference matchups next week. The Redhawks visit Austin Peay on Feb. 28 and Murray State on Mar. 2.
Recap Provided By Southeast Missouri Athletics