scored 18 points to lead five starters in double figures, as Southeast Missouri State University (6-12, 3-5) beat UT Martin (6-12, 3-5), 77-63, Thursday night at the Show Me Center.
Southeast ended a three-game losing streak in Ohio Valley Conference play and won back-to-back league games at home for the first time since 2006-07.
“I was proud of the way we played tonight,” said Southeast head coach Dickey Nutt. “It was a balanced effort and several guys stepped up. It was a fun win.”
The Redhawks, who didn’t hold a lead for three-straight games, stayed ahead of the Skyhawks for nearly the entire game tonight.
Southeast led by no more than five points in a see-saw first half until the last 3:08 when it used a 7-0 run to take a 37-28 lead at the intermission.
After Marquis Weddle knocked down a three-pointer to cut the Redhawks lead to 30-28, Marland Smith answered with a trey of his own to ignite the surge. Smith also added two free throws during that stretch.
Southeast dominated underneath, outscoring UT Martin, 24-6, in the paint. Smith led the Redhawks with 10 first-half points, including six from behind the arc.
The Redhawks continued to pick apart the Skyhawks in the second half.
Southeast went on an 8-2 jaunt to build a 14-point lead in the opening 3:17. LaMont Russell and Sam Pearson each made layups, while Anthony Allison drained a three-pointer and a free throw to give the Redhawks a 45-31 cushion at the 16:43 mark.
UT Martin later sliced Southeast’s lead to 49-42 on a pair of Andres Irarrazabal free throws at the 13:08 mark, before the Redhawks maintained a double-digit lead for the last 12:55 of the game.
Johnny Hill’s layup gave Southeast its biggest lead at 77-60 with 12 seconds on the clock before the Redhawks polished off their sixth win of the season.
Allison posted double figures for a team-high 11th time this year. Pearson and Smith followed with 14 points, while Hill added 11 and Russell had a double-double with 10 points and 13 rebounds. Russell went over 300 rebounds in his career.
Southeast shot 50 percent (25-of-50) from the field to UT Martin’s 38.3 percent (18-of-47) clip.
The Skyhawks (23-of-42) and Redhawks (22-of-32) combined to shoot 74 free throws on the night. In addition, Southeast outrebounded UT Martin, 36-29.
Southeast returns to action when it hosts first-place Murray State on Jan. 23. Tip-off is set for 7:45 p.m., CT, at the Show Me Center.