Johnson Scores 20 in Redhawks 64-53 Win Over McNeese State - Southeast Missouri State University Athletics
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Johnson Scores 20 in Redhawks 64-53 Win Over McNeese State

Johnson Scores 20 in Redhawks 64-53 Win Over McNeese State

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CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. - Nino Johnson scored a game-high 20 points to lead Southeast Missouri (2-1) to a 64-53 win over McNeese State (1-2) Thursday night at the Show Me Center.

Johnson scored double figures in his third-straight game, adding 10 points in each half. It marked the first 20-point game of his career.

Southeast limited McNeese State to only 28 points in the first 27 minutes of the game and used another dominating effort from its frontcourt to secure its second-straight victory.

"I thought we played well defensively and really did a good job of hammering the ball down inside," said Southeast head coach Dickey Nutt. "Our shot selection is improving and we were able to win at home against a team we lost to last season."

The Redhawks started strong, shooting 58.3 percent (14-of-24) in the first half.

Despite falling behind 9-2 early on, Southeast recovered to take its first lead when Corey Wilford's three-pointer gave the Redhawks a 13-11 edge with 12:44 remaining.

The Cowboys later pulled ahead 20-19 on Jeremie Mitchell's three-pointer, but Southeast answered with a 14-4 run in the final 6:22.

Tyler Stone and Johnson took control, combining for 12 points and three dunks to send the Redhawks to a 33-24 halftime advantage.

All but two of Southeast's points in the last six-plus minutes came on either a layup or dunk. Stone scored six points on a jumper, layup and dunk, while Johnson chipped in six on two slams and a layup. A.J. Jones accounted for the other layup during that stretch.

Southeast continued to pour it on in the second half, where it spurred a 15-2 run in the first 6:40.

Johnson had all but four of his second-half points during that run which ended on a Lucas Nutt layup which extended the Redhawks lead to 48-28 with 13:20 left to play.

Jacob Tolbert then gave Southeast its biggest lead of the night at 52-31 with 11:48 on the clock.

The Cowboys managed to outscore the Redhawks 18-7 after Tolbert's basket and pulled to within 10 (59-49) on Mitchell's three-pointer at the 3:40 mark.

That, however, was as close as McNeese State would get.

Johnson missed just two of his field goals (10-of-12), pulled down nine rebounds and gathered a game-high three blocks to lead Southeast.

Stone followed with 18 points on 8-of-11 from the field and 2-of-2 at the free throw line. He also had seven rebounds, dished out four assists and added a steal.

Both Johnson (34 minutes) and Stone (37 minutes) went without a foul in 30-plus minutes, as well.

Nick Niemczyk rounded out Southeast's top scorers with 10 points off the bench.

Additionally, Marland Smith broke the Redhawks all-time career record in three-point attempts. Smith scored three points on 1-of-5 from downtown. His 568 three-point field goals attempted surpassed Derek Winans (564 from 2001-05) for the new mark.

Dontae Cannon led all McNeese scorers with 10 points.

Southeast shot a season-high 54 percent (27-of-50) from the field. The Redhawks also dished out 17 assists and outscored the Cowboys, 34-10, inside the paint.

The Redhawks return to action at Chattanooga on Nov. 18.
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