A halfcourt banked in shot by Antonius Cleveland handed Southeast Missouri a 77-74 win over UT Martin Saturday night.
The dramatic shot was set up after Skyhawk Dee Oldham was chosen to shoot the game tying free throws after Marshun Newell got injured with 4.3 seconds left in the game. The win victory keeps the Redhawks in the OVC Tournament picture while that shot keeps the Skyhawks at home after next week.
While Cleveland was the hero, it was forward Tyler Stone and guard Jarekious Bradley that helped SEMO overcome a six-point deficit with six minutes remaining. Trailing 60-54, the three Redhawks scored the final 23 points in the victory.
The beginning of the game was a dunk fest for the Redhawks as Johnson and Stone dominated under the rim. A dunk by Johnson was followed up by a breakaway slam for Stone and UT Martin Head Coach Jason James was forced to call timeout.
The Skyhawks struggled to find a lineup that could slow the Redhawks as James played 11 players in the first 10 minutes of the half. Trailing 19-8, UTM pulled within six points but struggled to contain the Redhawks paint presence. SEMO didn’t convert a 3-pointer in the opening half but paint and free throws were the Redhawks offense. SEMO lead 35-28 at the half but missed seven of their 20 first half free throws.
For the Skyhawks the first half was about surviving fouls. 13 team fouls had six Skyhawks waiting for the second half as foul trouble mounted for UTM. Taking advantage of the playing time was Newell who was four of six from the field in the opening half with 10 points to carry the Skyhawks.
UTM opened the second half strong with an 16-3 run to take the lead. The Skyhawks scored on six of their first seven shots as Smith drained back-to-back 3’s to lead the offense. Smith continued the hot shooting as he drained another 3 to push the Skyhawk lead to eight points.
The Redhawks settled down and overcame the deficit that produced the ending. The final four minutes saw six ties with the final tie being broken with the shot.
Bradley led the Redhawks with 22 points off the bench, while Stone recorded his 11th double-double of the season with a 12 point and 11 rebound performance. The Skyhawks were led by Smith’s 23 points and Oldham’s 19 points.