CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (SEMO) - Southeast Missouri (11-9, 6-2) maintained its claim on second-place in the Ohio Valley Conference with a big 65-60 win over Austin Peay (8-14, 5-4) Thursday night in front of a season-best home crowd of 2,950 at the Show Me Center.
Southeast put a halt to APSU's five-game winning streak and ended a stretch of seven-straight losses in its all-time series against the Governors.
The Redhawks led by 17 points on two occasions late in the first half, before APSU erased that deficit.
After Corey Wilford's three-pointer gave Southeast a 34-17 with 5:37 left in the opening period, the Governors countered with a 26-8 run en route to taking a 43-42 lead on Josh Terry's layup at the 13:50 mark of the second half.
The game then turned into a slugfest in the final five minutes, with Southeast delivering the knockout blow in the end.
APSU held a 60-59 edge following two free throws by Will Triggs with a little under three minutes on the clock.
Leon Powell came up with a big block on APSU's next possession and Marcus Brister made a layup to spur a stretch of six-straight points in the final 1:36.
Ahead, 61-60, after Brister's bucket, Tyler Stone blocked a shot. Powell later followed his own miss with a tip-in at the other end to give the Redhawks a three-point cushion with 38 seconds.
Southeast made another huge stop defensively when Brister drew a charge with 22 seconds. Josh Terry drove the lane and made contact with Brister before being whistled for the offensive foul.
Lucas Nutt's two free throws just one second later polished off the 65-60 victory.
"We really enjoyed our crowd tonight and the atmosphere was exciting for a good college basketball game," said and elated Southeast head coach Dickey Nutt. "We really showed some mental toughness and made some outstanding defensive plays late in the second half."
Southeast stormed out to a 13-2 lead in the game's first five minutes, capitalizing on an early cold shooting spell by APSU. The Governors turned the ball over six times and made just three field goals in the first 12:15.
Shortly after Terry's jumper tied the game at 2-2, the Redhawks rattled off 11 unanswered points, as APSU went scoreless for over four minutes.
Nutt and Marland Smith each buried a three-pointer, while Stone added four points and capped the run with a layup at the 15:05 mark.
Southeast pushed its lead to 17 when Smith knocked down a jumper (9:08) and Wilford drained a three-pointer (5:37) in the last 10 minutes of the first half.
The Governors followed Wilford's trey up with an 11-3 run to slice Southeast's lead to single-digits (37-28) at the half.
Southeast man-handled APSU, 50-26 (+24), on the glass. The Redhawks, held a stifling 21-9 advantage on the offensive end en route to their season-high in rebounds.
Powell and Stone each turned in double-doubles to lead Southeast. Powell scored 12 points and had a game-high 18 rebounds, while Stone, despite being in foul trouble, added 11 points and 11 boards. Powell's double-double marked his team-high fifth of the season.
Wilford (12), Smith (11) and Brister (11) also scored double figures. Brister also had eight rebounds, while Wilford knocked down three 3-pointers off the bench in the first half alone.
In addition, Southeast overcame a season-high 23 turnovers.
"This was a big win for us," commented Powell. "I thought we played so hard for 40 minutes. It was one of those games and it felt like I missed way more than six shots."
Terry led all APSU scorers with 18 points, while Triggs and Tyshwan Edmondson added 11 and 10, respectively.
APSU shot 44 percent (11-of-25) and outscored Southeast, 32-28, in the second half.
Southeast, which improved to 6-2 at the midway point of its conference schedule, matched its total number of league victories from last season (6-12). The Redhawks also moved to 9-2 and stayed undefeated (5-0) in conference play at the Show Me Center this year.
The Redhawks return to action when they visit Eastern Illinois on Jan. 30.