CHARLESTON, IL (SEMO) - Leon Powell scored 28 points and made 10 free throws to lead Southeast Missouri (6-17, 5-8) to a 70-64 win over Eastern Illinois (8-14, 4-8) Saturday night at Lantz Arena.
Southeast, which swept EIU in a season for the first time since 2004-05, ended a six-game losing streak.
The Redhawks made eight of their first 10 field goals of the game en route to building an 18-10 lead in the first 7:25.
Cameron Butler scored five of Southeast's first seven points to ignite the early surge, which ended on Lucas Nutt's three-pointer at the 12:35 mark.
"We needed a good start and got it tonight," said Southeast head coach Dickey Nutt. "It set the tone for the game and really made a difference."
After Leon Powell's layup gave the Redhawks their biggest lead at 28-14 with 7:27 remaining, EIU later pulled to within four (36-32) at the half.
Southeast shot a blistering 59.1 percent (13-of-22) from the field in the first half.
The Panthers managed to cut Southeast's lead to 42-39 with 15:22 left to play in the second half, but Powell converted a big three-point play on the Redhawks ensuing possession.
That would be the closest EIU would get.
Southeast then held a 10-point lead seven times in the last 12:36 and made four-straight free throws (all by Nutt) in the final 45 seconds to secure its fifth Ohio Valley Conference win of the season.
The Redhawks shot 52.2 percent (24-of-46) from the field on the night. It was Southeast's best field goal percentage against a Division I opponent this year.
Powell made a near-perfect 9-of-10 field goals and 10-of-12 free throws to lead three Southeast players in double figures. He also had seven rebounds and three blocks in 34 minutes.
Nutt followed with 15 points on 4-of-7 field goals and a perfect 4-of-4 at the free throw line.
Marland Smith added 12 points and Butler chipped in a game-high 12 rebounds.
The Redhawks, who never trailed in the game, also shot 72 percent (18-of-25) at the free throw line and turned the ball over only nine times.
Jeremy Granger led the Panthers with 29 points on 10-of-18 field goals, 4-of-6 three-pointers and 5-of-6 free throws.
Southeast returns to action at SIU Edwardsville Monday. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m., CT, at the Vadalabene Center.