Lucas Nutt scored a season-high 21 points and Southeast Missouri (4-2) opened the second half with a 22-7 run in a 79-65 victory over Northern Kentucky (1-5) Friday night at the Cure UCD Classic.
A native of Jonesboro, Ark., Nutt was perfect on the night, hitting 6-of-6 field goals, 3-of-3 three-pointers and 6-of-6 free throws. He also buried the 100th three-pointer of his career with 15:54 left in the first half. Nutt fell one point shy of his career-high.
Southeast held a slight 38-36 lead at the intermission before its strong second-half start blew the game open. Nutt andJarekious Bradley each knocked down a three-pointer as the Redhawks scored nine unanswered points in a 2:22 span. Bradley’s three extended Southeast’s lead to double-digits (47-36) with 17:38 left.
Darrian Gray added five points and capped the big run with a three-pointer that pushed the Redhawks lead to 60-43 at the 11:40 mark.
“I thought we made some adjustments in the second half and our guys adapted,” said Southeast head coach Dickey Nutt. “We were aggressive and shot the ball well.”
NKU couldn’t cut Southeast’s lead to anything less than 13 points the rest of the way.
The Redhawks shot a scorching 63.6 percent (14-of-22) from the field in the second half. Southeast made a season-high 57.1 percent (28-of-49) of its field goals.
Southeast drained five three-pointers and made all of its free throws (5-of-5) in the game’s opening 20 minutes. Down, 24-23, with 9:19 remaining, Southeast put together an 8-0 run to build its biggest lead of the first half.
Jamaal Calvin knocked down a three-pointer to start the surge and Nino Johnson followed with a layup. Nutt then converted a three-point play to give the Redhawks a 31-24 lead with 6:27 left.
NKU battled back to tie the game on three occasions in the final 5:07 of the half. After Jordan Jackson’s free throw brought the game to a 36-36 deadlock, Nutt answered with a pair of free throws of his own to grab Southeast its fifth halftime lead of the season.
Nutt, who also dished out three assists, scored double figures for the first time this season.
Tyler Stone followed with 17 points and seven rebounds, while Bradley had a game-high 10 boards. Johnson contributed 10 points and nine rebounds in his first start of the season. It was his third-straight game scoring in double figures.
Tyler White and Jackson led NKU with 22 and 16 points, respectively. The Norse, who lead the Atlantic Sun Conference in three-pointers made, sunk six of their eight threes in the first half. Southeast’s defense limited NKU to just 2-of-9 (22.2 percent) from behind the arc in the second stanza.
Southeast outrebounded NKU, 31-26, as well.
“We played much better defense in the second half,” said Nutt. “We are improving and getting better.”
The Redhawks resume play at the Cure UCD Classic against Tulane Saturday. Tip-off is set for 4 p.m., CT.