Leon Powell scored 12 points to lead three players in double figures in Southeast Missouri’s (0-5) 66-56 loss to Southeastern Conference foe Arkansas (3-0) Wednesday night at Bud Walton Arena.
Powell scored double figures for the fifth-straight time this season.
Southeast went toe-to-toe with a good Arkansas team and hung tough with the Razorbacks until the final buzzer.
“I was very pleased with our guys tonight,” said Southeast head coach Dickey Nutt. “We knew we were facing a very athletic basketball team. We rebounded well and did some good things.”
Anthony Allison’s layup gave Southeast its only lead (4-0) just 1:11 into the game.
After that, Arkansas led the rest of the way, but Southeast was within striking distance numerous times.
The Redhawks trailed by three or less points on eight occasions in the first half. However, whenever Southeast was close, Arkansas’ Rotnei Clarke answered.
Clarke, rated as the top shooting guard in the SEC and No. 13 shooting guard in the nation, converted a conventional three-point play when Southeast narrowed the Razorbacks lead to 17-16 at the 8:14 mark.
That play sparked a 13-4 run and led to a 30-20 Arkansas lead with 4:24 remaining.
Southeast responded with a 10-4 run of its own to pull to within four (34-30) at the half. Lucas Nutt hit a big three-pointer and Waylon Jones threw down a monsterous jam to key the surge.
The Redhawks held a 23-15 advantage on the boards with 11 offensive rebounds in the first half. Southeast also scored 13 second chance points and outscored the Razorbacks, 20-10, inside the paint.
Nutt drained another three-pointer to pull Southeast to within one (34-33) again early in the second half, but Clarke buried a trey on the Razorbacks next possession.
Clarke’s three-pointer ignited another big Arkansas run, this time 13-4, as the Razorbacks built their biggest lead of the night. Delvon Johnson’s free throw capped the run which gave Arkansas a 51-37 advantage with 11 minutes left to play.
Powell made a free throw and Nate Schulte made a layup to cut Arkansas’ lead to eight twice in the final 1:18, but that was as close as the Redhawks would get.
Southeast finished with a season-high 46 rebounds to Arkansas’ 35. The Redhawks added 22 rebounds on the offensive end of the floor.
Powell shot 4-of-10 from the field and 4-of-10 from the free throw line. He also had seven rebounds and a block.
Allison and Marcus Brister followed with 10 points apiece. Brister made 6-of-9 free throws en route to his season-high.
Schulte had a strong game off the bench, posting 10 rebounds and four points in 23 minutes.
The Redhawks ended the night with 21 second chance points.
In addition, Southeast had a season-high 23 turnovers which led to 23 points.
Clarke scored a game-high 19 points on 6-of-8 field goals, 3-of-5 three-pointers and 4-of-7 free throws.
“Clarke is a phenomenal shooter,” said Nutt. “Anytime we had an opportunity, he made a big shot.”
Julysses Nobles and Delvon Johnson also pitched in double figures with 13 and 10 points, respectively.
Southeast will return to action when it hosts Arkansas State on Saturday. Tip-off is set for 4:05 p.m., CT, at the Show Me Center.