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Despite a 25-point effort from Kevin Buckingham, a cold shooting effort from long range would prove costly in a 68-60 road loss to Arkansas-Monticello on Thursday night in Monticello, Ark.
The loss drops the Savage Storm to 9-3 overall and 5-3 in Great American Conference play heading into a 3 p.m. matchup on Saturday afternoon against Southern Arkansas.
“We’ve got to shoot the ball better,” said head coach Kelly Green. “Make no mistake, you have to make open shots. Do we have the wrong guys shooting? Are they shooting off balance? Is the ball not moving fast enough, and I have a tendency to believe that is what it was, we weren’t getting into our rhythm.”
Buckingham was nearly unstoppable in the effort, hitting 11-of-13 from the floor, with his only two misses coming from three-point range, and finishing with 25 points to lead all scorers.
He was joined in double-figures by Kellen Manek who put up 12 on 5-of-9 shooting.
SE shot 50.0 percent from the field overall but struggled from beyond the arc where it hit 4-of-18 on three point tries.
Buckingham also led the Storm on the glass with a team-high seven rebounds.
Buckingham posted 10 points in the first half on 4-of-5 shooting, including the game’s first points as the teams traded the lead early before the Storm jumped ahead 11-6 on a Manek jumper with 14:56 to play in the first half.
UAM would respond and knot the game at 13-13, but a pair of Buckingham free throws and a Dworsky layup pushed the Storm lead back to 17-13 with 11:37 to go first half.
The Boll Weevils then put together a 10-3 run to regain the lead at 23-20 with 9:11 to go in the half.
The teams would trade buckets again, with a Manek jumper tying the game at 25-25 with 5:05 to go, but UAM would mount a 7-3 run to take a five-point lead before Buckingham closed out the half with a shot before the horn to cut the Storm deficit to 32-29 at halftime.
The home team lead doubled to 35-29 in the opening minute of the second half, but an 8-0 Storm run capped by a Manek three would put SE back in front 37-35 with 16:41 to go in the contest.
The team’s continued to trade punches, with the Storm taking a 47-44 lead on an Al Ervin jumper with 11:21 to play.
SE would go cold after that, missing its next five shots while the Boll Weevils would put together an 8-0 run to regain the lead and go up 52-47 with 9:37 to play.
A Buckingham jumper would close the gap to one possession at 52-49, but an 11-4 UAM run would leave the Storm reeling and trailing 63-53 with 3:53 to play.
The deficit grew to 13 before the Storm scored the final five points on a three from Kayo Goncalves and a pair of Ervin free throws to fashion the 68-60 final score.
From Southeastern Athletics.