ROLLA, Mo. – Taylor Smaller turned in a game-high 23 points to pace Southeastern to a 79-72 victory over Missouri S&T on Wednesday night at Rolla, Mo., in the team’s first road game of the season.
The Savage Storm improved to 2-0 with the win, while the Miners dropped to 1-1.
SE will be back on Action Nov. 21 when it opens Great American Conference play by hosting Henderson State at 7:30 p.m. in Bloomer Sullivan Arena.
Smaller shot 8-of-13 from the floor and 6-of-8 from the free throw line to pile up his game-high 23 points, and in addition he turned in seven rebounds and six assists in the effort.
Four other players posted double-digit scoring numbers with Darius Harris turning in 14, followed by 11 from Anton Cook and 10 each from Urald King and Daichi Taniguchi.
The Storm was an impressive 59.1 percent from the floor for the game on 26-of-44 shooting, mostly on the strength of a 68 percent first half effort where they sank 17-of-25 shots.
SE also added a 24-of-35 effort from the charity stripe.
Defensively, the team held the Miners to 33.3 percent shooting, or 26-of-78 from the floor.
MST kept itself in the game with eight threes, five of which came in the second half, and 21 offensive rebounds.
SE still held an edge in the rebounding battle, however, as the Storm pulled down 44 rebounds compared to 36 by the home team.
Harris led that charge for Southeastern as he completed the double-double with 11 rebounds which matched MST’s high rebounder for the game’s top mark.
King added eight boards, with Smaller’s seven next in line.
Smaller’s six assists help SE to a 16-to-12 advantage in helpers, with Taniguchi next up with three.
The Miners took advantage of 26 Storm turnovers with a 26-8 advantage in points off turnovers, as well as using their offensive rebounding edge to out-score SE 25-10.
However, the Southeastern bench came up big with a 26-11 advantage in scoring, while SE held a slight 42-36 lead in the paint.
Smaller and Harris would score the game’s first two buckets and the Storm would never trail in the contest.
MST would score the next four points and tie the game at 4-4, but it was the first of just two ties they would manage in the contest.
Southeastern would use a 6-0 run capped by an Anton Cook jumper to jump to a 10-4 lead early, which would grow to eight points at 22-14 with 9:32 to play in the half on a Quinton Threadgill fast break layup off a Smaller pass.
The lead would grow to double-figures on a Smaller bucket off a Taniguchi pass with 4:50 to go, and just over a minute later Harris would hit a layup off a King pass to take the largest lead of the half at 33-20.
The Miners would use a small run to cut the advantage to seven points, but SE would score the last five points of the half, the last coming on a Threadgill layup with 25 seconds left which gave Southeastern a 42-30 lead at the break.
King would open the second half with a layup to give the Storm the largest lead of the game at 14 points, but an 18-4 run by MST would erase that advantage and tie the score for just the second time on night at 48-48 with 16:58 to play in the game.
A Harris layup off a Taniguchi pass would stop the bleeding and key a 9-0 run that included a Smaller three and was capped by a fast break layup from King off another Smaller pass.
However, the Miners would not go away as they whittled the Storm lead down to 60-59 with 8:52 to play.
The Storm would then catch a break as Smaller drew a foul in action and MST’s Zach Ellis would be slapped with a technical foul which led to Smaller hitting three of his four free throw opportunities and pushing the lead back to four points.
The Miners would cut the lead back to one point again with 7:38 to play at 65-64, but a 6-0 run capped by a Trevor Jackson layup would put SE in front by a 71-64 margin.
MST would get no closer than three points from that point on as the Storm held on for a 79-72 road victory.