Tyler Stone scored 24 points off the bench, shooting 11 of 12 from the field, as Southeast Missouri won its third straight game by defeating Eastern Illinois 78-68 Wednesday night in the first round of the Ohio Valley Conference tournament.

The sixth-seeded Redhawks (17-15) shot 63 percent in the first half (17 of 27), including 6 of 12 3-pointers, to lead 42-29 at the break. The No. 7-seeded Panthers (11-21), who came in riding a three-game winning streak, could get no closer than 10 in the second half.

Southeast Missouri opened OVC tournament play with a win three years in a row for the first time in school history and secured its first winning season since 2004-05.

Corey Wilford and Marland Smith added 14 points apiece for the Redhawks and Lucas Nutt had a season-high 12 assists.

Josh Piper scored 19 points and Alex Austin 17 for the Panthers.