In the opening round of the 2012 Ohio Valley Conference tournament, Southeast Missouri held off the Eastern Kentucky University men’s basketball team, 75-65. The Colonels conclude the 2011-12 season with a 16-16 overall record.
Southeast Missouri, the tournament’s No. 5 seed, scored 15 of the first 17 points in the contest and never looked back. The Redhawks (15-15) advance to face the No. 4 seed, Tennessee Tech, in the quarterfinals tomorrow evening.
Senior Jaron Jones paced the Colonels with 28 points, two shy of his career high, along with six rebounds. Fellow senior Joshua Jones added 17 points.
SEMO controlled the game in the low post where both Tyler Stone (18 points, 11 rebounds) and Leon Powell (12 points, 14 boards) posted double-doubles. The Redhawks consistently capitalized on offensive rebounds with 18 second chance points.
Southeast Missouri built its largest lead at 17 points late in the first half, 36-19. EKU, the tournament’s No. 8 seed, then scored nine of the final 11 points of the half, thanks to three-pointers from Joshua Jones and senior Jeff Allgood, to slash the deficit to 10 points at intermission, 38-28.
Jaron Jones carried the Eastern offense in the second half with 22 of his 28 tallies. A Jones trifecta with 9:07 left helped the Colonels close to nine points, 55-46. A minute later, a Joshua Jones lay-up suddenly pulled EKU to within five, 56-51.
However, that would be as close as Eastern Kentucky would get the rest of the way. Jaron Jones missed a lay-in with 1:12 remaining that would have brought the Colonels to within four points. Southeast Missouri sealed the victory with six free throws in the final minute.
This was the second straight year that Southeast Missouri defeated Eastern Kentucky in the OVC tournament. The Colonels have not won a conference tourney game since 2007.
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