Southeastern MBB falls to Henderson State in GAC Quarterfinal

SE Athletics
Matt Thomas

SHAWNEE – Third-seeded Southeastern’s offense would chill over the final 10 minutes, hitting 3-of-17 over that stretch as it would fall victim of the upset in an 83-81 loss to sixth-seeded Henderson State on Friday night in the quarterfinals of the Great American Conference Tournament in Shawnee, Okla.

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The loss brings the 2022-23 season to an end and the Savage Storm wrap up the year with an 18-10 record overall.

Jett Sternberger would lead SE on the contest with a game-high 21 points that included a 3-for-5 effort from beyond the arc.

Brennen Burns followed with 18 points while Aaron Jacob matched him with 18 of his own on a 7-of-9 shooting effort that included four threes.

RJ Weeks would use a hot start to post 12 points on the night.

Burns and Al Ervin led the Storm with three assists apiece, while Sternberger and Kody Clouet added two each.

SE matched HSU on the boards at 37 rebounds each, with Kyle Leslie leading the Storm with seven, followed by six each from Clouet and Jacob.

Weeks scored the first eight points for the Storm, including back-to-back threes as the teams came out trading bucket early.

After HSU would take a one-point lead at the 16:55 mark, a Sternberger three would trigger a 7-1 run which would push the SE advantage to 15-10 with 14:33 to play in the half.

The teams proceeded to trade buckets again until the Reddies reeled off a 5-0 run to knot the game and would take a 27-26 lead on a three with 7:54 remaining in the first.

A Jacob three and a Burns dunk would provide the answer and regain the lead for SE over the next minute, but HSU would close the gap to just one point with 6:25 to go in the half.

The Storm would then reel off an 8-2 run that was powered by six-straight from Jacob to take the largest lead of the half at 41-34.

The Reddies would again whittle that down to just one point before the Storm scored five of the final seven points to take a 48-44 lead into the half.

With six of the first eight points out of the break the Storm would push its lead to 54-46, but HSU would score the next six points to cut the SE advantage to 54-52 at the 16:09 mark.

A Weeks bucket and a Sternberger three would create some breathing room as Southeastern led 59-52, but HSU would again respond, this time with a 10-4 run to close the gap to 64-62 with 12:34 to play.

A Jacob three would end that run and by the time Burns hit a layup with 10:19 remaining, the SE lead had grown back to 71-64.

The Reddies would continue chipping, tying the game on a three with 3:15 to play before taking its first lead of the second half on a three-point play with 2:40 to play at 78-77.

Sternberger would hit a pair of free throws to regain the lead, but HSU would answer with a layup to retake the lead at 80-79 with 2:10 on the clock.

Southeastern would once again regain the advantage at 81-80 as Burns drained a pull-up jumper with 1:09 to play.

Neither team would hit a field goal in the final minute, but the Reddies would hit a free throw with 57 seconds left as well as a pair of free throws with five seconds to play which broke an 81-81 tie to hand SE the 83-81 loss.

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