In a game that featured four ties and 10 lead changes, Southeast put together a big second half to sting the Hornets and end a three-game losing streak.
The Redhawks heated up to shoot 59.5 percent (22-of-37) in the second half, where HSU committed 17 of its miscues against a stifling Southeast defense.
“After halftime, I was pleased to see we woke up and played a lot better,” said Southeast head coach Dickey Nutt. “Our defense was very aggressive and made it difficult for them to maneuver. It really helped us pull away.”
Southeast led by just three points with 16:53 remaining before putting together a 14-2 run off six turnovers in a span of 3:12. Freshman Marcus Wallace came off the bench to get two of his game-high five steals during that stretch.
Aaron Adeoye scored six points over the run which was capped by a Josh Langford dunk, as the Redhawks opened a 55-40 lead at the 12:46 mark.
Southeast’s lead never fell below double figures from that point.
Another big run, this time a 13-1 jaunt, pushed the Redhawks lead over 20. Langford contributed two more buckets, while Adeoye, Nino Johnson, Isiah Jones, Ladarius Coleman and T.J. Thomas also scored to give Southeast an 81-55 lead with 5:13 on the clock.
Sikeston native and walk-on J.T. Jones knocked down a three-pointer with 18 seconds left to put the 94-66 win on ice.
Southeast’s strong second half effort followed a rugged first half that saw neither team lead by more than six points.
Antonius Cleveland made three of Southeast’s first five field goals and J.J. Thompson scored the game’s first basket to give the Redhawks their first lead in 98:26 of basketball.
Cleveland helped lift Southeast to an early four-point edge before Bradley’s three-pointer gave the Redhawks a six-point advantage at 21-15 with 10:23 left to play.
Tony Flagg knocked down a three-pointer on back-to-back possessions to regain a 24-22 lead for HSU at the 7:34 mark.
Moments after Cleveland split a pair of free throws to bring the game to its third tie (29-29), Southeast used a 7-2 run in the last 2:54 to take a 36-31 lead at the half.
Bradley converted a three-point play, Cleveland made two free throws and Wallace threw down a dunk during the surge that gave Southeast its seventh halftime lead this season.
All 12 Redhawks got in the scorebook, with Adeoye paving the way with 16 points. Adeoye did not miss a field goal, going 6-of-6 in 16 minutes.
Cleveland and Bradley followed with 13 points each, while Wallace pitched in a season-high 11 points in 27 minutes. All of Cleveland’s points were in the first half.
Johnson finished with a game-high four blocks, as well.
Southeast scored 44 points off turnovers and 54 inside the paint. In addition, the Redhawks collected a season-best 13 steals and added 20 second chance points.
Trevor Roberts led HSU with 19 points and Jalen Fletcher had a double-double 17 points and 12 rebounds.
The Redhawks will open Ohio Valley Conference play at two-time defending OVC regular-season champion Belmont on Jan. 1.
“We have had a brutal non-conference schedule that I think will pay dividends when conference play starts this week,” said Nutt.