Eric Stutz had a double-double 22 points and 10 rebounds, and No. 3 Eastern Kentucky (24-8) made 37 free throws in an 84-69 victory over No. 6 Southeast Missouri (17-16) Thursday night in the Ohio Valley Conference Tournament quarterfinals. EKU attempted 45 free throws, 27 more than Southeast, and that was the difference.
“Glancing at this stat sheet, it makes you sick to your stomach that they shot 45 free throws to our 18. I credit them for that,” said Southeast head coach Dickey Nutt.
The Colonels battled back to tie the game at 29-29 with 3:25 and used a 10-2 run to take an eight-point lead (39-31) at the break. Southeast fell behind at the half for the first time since Jan. 26, snapping a streak of nine-straight games where it led at the intermission.
The Redhawks used a 9-0 run to pull to within five nearly seven minutes into the second half. Tyler Stone capped that stretch with five-straight points and made three free throws to narrow EKU’s lead to 49-44 with 13:36 left.
That was as close as Southeast would get. The Colonels then led by as many as 17 points twice before finishing off the win.