BARTLESVILLE, Okla. – Southeastern Oklahoma State’s First-Team All-GAC tandem of Kevin Buckingham and Adam Dworsky led four Savage Storm players in double figures as the second-seeded Savage Storm eliminated Southern Arkansas, 83-69, in Thursday’s opening Great American Conference Men’s Basketball Championships quarterfinal contest from Bruin Fieldhouse.
Buckingham went 12-for-20 from the field in scoring a game-high 29 points. Late in the second half, he became the second 2,000-point scorer in league history, joining Southern Nazarene’s Jhonathan Dunn. Additionally, he became the fourth in school history to eclipse that milestone - the first since Dennis Rodman in 1986. Dworsky hit 7-of-9 shots in tallying 18 points. He added nine assists.
Kellen Manek and Bobby Johnson also reached double digits for the Savage Storm (23-7). Manek scored 17 and grabbed eight rebounds. Johnson went 5-of-7, including 3-of-4 from the 3-point arc, in scoring 14 points. As a team, the Savage Storm shot 55.4 percent, including 68.2 percent in the second half.
Devante Brooks paced the Muleriders (13-16) with his GAC-leading ninth double-double of the season. He scored a team-high 22 points and grabbed a game-high 12 rebounds. While Southeastern connected on 10-of-26 3-point tries, SAU went just 4-for-22 from the 3-point arc.
After not winning a GAC quarterfinal game in any of their first four attempts, the Savage Storm have advanced the semifinals for the third-straight year. Southeastern Oklahoma State will play the winner of Friday afternoon’s contest between Henderson State and Arkansas-Monticello at 2:15 PM on Saturday.
In the regular season, the Savage Storm split their meeting with the Reddies as both won on their home courts. Southeastern swept its two matchups with UAM as the Storm prevailed 83-78 at home on January 9 and rallied for a second-half comeback, 73-71, on February 22.
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