Drury celebrates it's regional championship. (photo/Drury athletics)

Drury celebrates it’s regional championship. (photo/Drury athletics)

The top seeded Drury Panthers broke open a tight game to beat sixth-seed Michigan Tech 71-57 in the NCAA-II Midwest Regional championship game befoe 2,332 fans Tuesday night at the O’Reilly Family Event Center in Springfield.

The nationally eighth-ranked Panthers, in winning their 26th consecutive game at The O (as it’s known to Panther fans), improved to 28-3 and now advance to the Elite Eight.

It will almost be a home court feel for the Panthers who will play next week at the Ford Center in Evansville, Ind. That’s the same venue where the Great Lakes Valley Conference has held its post-season tournament the past two seasons (and Drury is 4-1 over the last two seasons in that arena).

Drury will take on West Liberty – an 89-82 winner over top seed and nationally 2nd-ranked East Stroudsburg on Tuesday – at 6 p.m. next Wednesday, March 26. The Hilltoppers won their fourth straight Atlantic Region title while improving to 29-3 on the season.