Eastern Illinois and Southeast Missouri both lit up the nets in the first half. In the second half EIU had more left in the tank as the Panthers won their fifth straight game, beating SEMO 78-69 Saturday afternoon in Lantz Arena.
EIU improved to 11-13 overall, 7-4 in the OVC. EIU hosts Austin Peay on Wednesday night at 8 p.m.on American Sports Network. SEMO dropped to 5-19, 2-9 in the OVC.
SEMO led 42-40 at the half before EIU opened the second half with a 7-0 run. Luke Piotrowski opened the run with a lay-up followed by a lay-up by Trae Anderson and 3-pointer by Cornell Johnston. Anderson was key for the Panthers all day finishing the day with 27 points. Anderson opened the game hitting his first eight shots from the field, finishing the night 12-of-17 from the floor. His jumper giving EIU a 44-42 lead with 19:20 put EIU for the remainder of the game.
Joel Angus III stopped EIU’s run with a jumper in the lane. EIU countered with a 3-pointer by Anderson and free throws by Piotrowski as EIU pushed its lead to eight points.
Antonius Cleveland’s basket with 14:24 to play cut EIU’s lead to one possession at 54-51. That would be final time in the game SEMO would cut the Panthers lead to one possession. Patrick Muldoon gave EIU a five point lead at 12:29. The Panthers biggest lead of the game came in the final seconds as Luke Norman sank a pair of free throws to close out the game.
Anderson was one of two EIU players that posted a double-double pulling down 12 rebounds to go with his 27 points. Demetrius McReynolds added 16 points and 11 rebounds. Johnston had 11 points and seven assists.
EIU shot 54 percent in the opening half, SEMO connected at 50 percent going 14-of-28. The Redhawks cooled off in the second half shooting 30 percent in the half and 39 percent for the game.
SEMO and EIU had seven ties and four lead changes in the first half. SEMO led by seven points with 3:35 to play in the first half on a jumper by Trey Kellum that gave the Redhawks a 38-31 lead. Anderson and Johnston combined to give EIU a 9-4 run to end the half.
Cleveland led SEMO with 15 points and ten rebounds. Isiah Jones added ten.