Nashville, TN (Sports Network) - Tyler Stone finished with 24 points and seven rebounds as the Southeast Missouri State Redhawks defeated the Eastern Illinois Panthers, 78-68, in the first round of the Ohio Valley Conference Tournament at Municipal Auditorium.
Corey Wilford and Marland Smith scored 14 points each for SEMO (17-15), which will advance to face the No. 3 seed Eastern Kentucky on Thursday. Lucas Nutt dealt out 12 assists in the win.
Josh Piper paced EIU (11-21) with 19 points while Alex Austin tallied 17 points and eight rebounds. Morris Woods and Malcolm Herron scored 13 and 11 points, respectively.
Southeast scored the final seven points of the opening half to take a 42-29 lead into the intermission. The Redhawks were unstoppable in the first stanza, connecting on 62.9 percent of their field goal attempts including 6-of-12 from 3-point range. EIU shot 42.9 percent from the floor before the break.
Southeast stayed in front by a double-digit margin for the entire second half.
The Redhawks assisted 22 of their 30 made field goals and held a 31-25 edge in the rebounding battle.