Cape Girardeau, MO (SEMO) - Leon Powell scored an Ohio Valley Conference single-game high 36 points and head coach Dickey Nutt earned his 200th career victory when Southeast Missouri (4-11, 3-2) beat UT Martin (4-11, 0-4), 82-75, Monday night at the Show Me Center.
Southeast posted its third-straight OVC victory and moved above .500 in league play for the first time since 2004-05.
Nutt's 200th career victory came on a night where he issued a personal challenge to his top player.
"Leon had an outstanding night. I personally challenged him. He had to have a certain number of points and a certain number of rebounds," said Nutt. "He was super."
UT Martin battled back from a 13-point deficit to tie the game at 49-49 on Benzor Simmons' free throws at the 13:57 mark of the second half.
Southeast then answered with six-straight points and never let its lead fall below three from then on.
After Reuben Clayton made three free throws to cut Southeast's lead to 57-54 with 8:57 left, the Redhawks went on a 17-8 run to build another double-digit lead.
Powell scored eight points, including six at the free throw line to key the late surge which ended on his dunk which pushed the Redhawks lead to 74-62 with 2:45 remaining. Lucas Nutt also added five of his 15 second-half points during that span.
Southeast later sunk six free throws in the final 1:52 to secure the win.
Southeast broke an early 9-9 tie with a 17-4 run to pull ahead by 13 points with 9:09 left to play in the first half.
Powell made four free throws and scored two baskets underneath and had a two-handed dunk which gave the Redhawks a 26-13 advantage.
UT Martin, however, battled back to pull to within two (41-39) at the half on Benzor Simmons' layup as time expired.
Southeast shot 51.7 percent (15-of-29) from the field in the first half and 47.3 percent (26-of-55) for the game.
Powell, who scored 19 points in the first half, made 11-of-13 field goals and 14-of-20 free throws en route to his career-high. He also pulled down eight rebounds and had a career-high four blocks in 37 minutes.
Nutt followed with a career-high 22 points on 6-of-14 field goals and 8-of-10 free throws. In addition, he added six assists, four rebounds and drained two three-pointers.
Allison rounded out Southeast's top scorers with 13 points.
Southeast used a 2-3 zone defense to hold the Skyhawks at bay late in the game.
"I thought the difference in the game was when we switched to a zone," said Nutt. "We had several stops in a row and that killed their momentum."
The Redhawks continue their homestand against Eastern Illinois Saturday. Tip-off is set for 6 p.m., CT, at the Show Me Center.