Charleston, IL (Sports Network) - Led by 21 points and 16 rebounds from Sherman Blanford, the Eastern Illinois Panthers outlasted the Southeast Missouri State Redhawks in overtime, 78-72, in an Ohio Valley Conference bout at Lantz Arena.
For the Panthers (6-16, 3-6 OVC), Josh Piper added 13 points, Morris Woods and Austin Akers each finished with 12 points and Malcolm Herron chipped in with 11 points.
Corey Wilford led the Redhawks (11-12, 3-6) with 20 points, while Marland Smith finished with 14 points and A.J. Jones and Tyler Stone each scored 13 points. Stone also collected a game-high 12 rebounds.
Though they shot just 39.3 percent from the field in the first half, the Panthers knocked down 6-of-13 from beyond the 3-point arc, as they went into halftime leading 33-27. SEMO connected on 42.3 percent of its field goal tries, but made only 3-of-12 from 3-point range.
After the break, the Redhawks were much more effective from long distance, hitting on 6-of-13 tries from 3-point distance, as part of a 43.3 percent shooting performance after halftime. The Panthers continued to struggle from the field, shooting just 34.5, including 2-of-9 from 3-point range. Trailing by seven, 40-33, early in the second half, the Redhawks used a 17-4 run to go up six midway through the half. The teams traded leads from then on. Blanford sank two free throws with six seconds left in regulation to knot the score at 61-61. A Smith 3-point try at the buzzer to win it was off the mark and the teams went into overtime.
In the extra session, Smith knocked down a 3-pointer to give the Redhawks a 67-66 lead with 1:32 to play in overtime. The Panthers responded with eight unanswered points to go ahead for good and pull out the victory, giving them their first three-game winning streak of the season.
EIU dominated on the boards, outrebounding SEMO 50-34. The Panthers outscored the Redhawks at the free-throw line, 23-5.