Southeastern stormed to a 17-point halftime lead, held off a late run and in the end gave head coach Kelly Green his first win in Blue and Gold, downing Science and Arts (Okla.), 71-61 in the home opener on Tuesday night in Bloomer Sullivan Arena.
The Savage Storm move to 1-4 on the season, while the Drovers slip to 3-2.
Southeastern will be back in action Nov. 25-26 when it travels to San Antonio, Texas, to play in the St. Mary's Classic, opening with a 5 p.m. matchup with Missouri Western State on Nov. 25 and finishing with a Nov. 26 matchup with Angelo State at 5 p.m.
Ivan Johnson led a foursome of SE players in double-digits with 16 points, while Zac Downing and Urald King each added 14 and Sapara chipped in 11.
Sapara's 10 rebounds led everyone on the glass as the Storm held a 43-to-39 edge in the rebounding battle.
SE shot 41.5 percent from the field and held USAO to 35.6 percent, including a 17.9 percent mark in the first half.
Sapara and Johnson each tallied three assists as the Storm finished with 11 as a team.
Southeastern took control in the early going, opening the game on a 7-0 run starting with a Sapara layup and capped by an Antonio Worthy layup.
King would give the Storm its first double-digit lead with a layup at the 12:12 mark that put the Storm up 14-4.
USAO would whittle the lead down to 21-15 with 6:56 to play in the half, but SE would finish the half on a 13-2 run that was capped off by a Downing three-pointer to put the Storm up 34-17 at halftime.
The Drovers chipped away at the Storm advantage, finally closing the gap to 44-41 with 10:37 to play.
A Worthy bucket would stop the bleeding and SE would slowly pull away, making the lead once again double-figures on a King dunk with 4:21 to play.
The lead would expand back to 17 points at 63-46 on a King layup in transition, but USAO would have one final run to close the game to 69-61 with 11 seconds left before Johnson drained a pair of free throws to set the final score at 71-61.