Marland Smith scored a game-high 29 points and tied a single-game school record with nine three-pointers to lead Southeast Missouri (13-13, 5-7) to a commanding 77-64 victory over Eastern Illinois (7-18, 4-8) Saturday night at the Show Me Center.
Two days after breaking Southeast’s all-time career record in three-pointers made, Smith buried 9-of-15 three-pointers to tie the school’s single-game mark. Two other players have made nine threes in a game, with the last being Mark Johnson vs. Milwaukee on Mar. 2, 1995.
The Redhawks also finished with a season-high 15 three-pointers and shot a scorching 57.7 percent (15-of-26) from behind the arc. Southeast fell just two three-pointers shy of breaking its team single-game record of 16 last done in conference play vs. UT Martin on Feb. 12, 1998.
“Marland is playing with a lot of confidence right now,” said Southeast head coach Dickey Nutt. “I knew sooner or later he was going to break out. Our screening has been better and Marland is doing a good job of separating himself from defenders.”
Southeast, which got back on a winning streak for the first time since the start of league play, moved back into second in the Ohio Valley Conference West Division standings.
The Redhawks, still stinging from their heartbreaking 78-72 overtime loss to EIU on Jan. 26, jumped all over the Panthers early and never let up.
Southeast heated up to shoot 90.9 percent out of the gate, making 10 of its first 11 field goals in the opening nine minutes.
The Redhawks stormed out to an 18-2 lead behind a barrage of three-pointers, two of which came from Marland Smith. Corey Wilford drained the other three during that surge that ended when Lucas Nutt converted a three-point play with 15:03 left.
A.J. Jones later scored five-straight points and buried a three-pointer to help widen Southeast’s lead to 27-8 with 11:22 remaining in the first half.
The Redhawks closed out the half strong with an 11-4 run in the final 3:40, using three more three-pointers to take a comfortable 48-23 lead at the break.
Southeast shot 62.1 percent (18-of-29) from the field in the first half and connected on nine of its 14 three-point attempts (64.3 pct.). The 48 first half-points marked a season-high for the Redhawks.
Smith, Wilford and Jones each scored double figures to key Southeast’s red-hot start. Wilford and Smith also knocked down four threes apiece.
Southeast’s strong first half was enough to overpower EIU, which won the second stanza by a score of 41-29.
Smith made 10-of-16 field goals. His career-high nine three-pointers surpassed his previous career mark of seven, which previously came on two separate occasions against the Panthers. Smith knocked down a combined 12 threes in two games for the Redhawks this week.
Wilford followed with 14 points and five rebounds, while Jones contributed a double-double 11 points and 10 boards. Tyler Stone rounded out Southeast’s double-digit scorers with 13 points.
Southeast shot 51.9 percent (28-of-54) on the night. The Redhawks outrebounded the Panthers, 37-31, as well.
Alex Austin led EIU with 16 points off the bench.
Southeast recognized its 2012 Athletic Hall of Fame Class at halftime of tonight’s game. This year’s class includes Jim Hamby, Beverly Slaughter, Ron & Mary Hines, Christine (Ridenour) Vanatta, Galen McSpadden and the 1999-2000 Men’s Basketball Team. Eight players from Southeast’s only OVC Champion and NCAA Division I Tournament team returned to campus for the festivities this weekend.
“Congratulations to the 1999-2000 team,” said Nutt. “To be the only team that made the NCAA Tournament and accomplish the things they did in our current Division I era is outstanding. Thank you all for coming back to campus and making not only tonight, but this weekend special for us.”
Southeast will return to action at UT Martin on Feb. 16.
Release Provided by Southeast Missouri Athletics