CHARLESTON -- Shareef Smith hit a 15 foot jumper with four seconds left as Eastern Illinois knocked off Ohio Valley Conference co-leader Austin Peay, 85-83, on Saturday afternoon at Lantz Arena.
EIU improved to 11-8 overall, 4-2 in the OVC. APSU fell to 13-6 overall, 5-1 in the OVC.
Smith’s jumper capped what had been a monumental comeback for the Panthers who trailed by 14 points with just under ten minutes to play in the half. Smith scored the final ten points of the game for EIU with all 12 of his points coming in the second half.
EIU led 43-37 at the half after conecting for 57 percent from the field and 7-of-10 from 3-point range in the first half. Josiah Wallace scored 16 of his game high 27 points in the opening half. The Governors were able to keep within striking distance as they knocked down six 3-pointers with a pair coming from Isaiah Hart.
EIU pushed their lead to nine points to open the second half on a 3-pointer by Wallace. Austin Peay answered with a small run to trim the lead to two points on a dunk by Jabari McGhee with 16:56 to play in the game.
The Governors were not done there as they rattled off a 14-0 run to take a 62-55 lead with 13:21 to play on a 3-pointer by Terry Taylor. The lead grew to 70-56 as APSU had an extended 22-1 run in which they hit 9-of-10 shots for the floor.
Mack Smith stopped the bleeding for the Panthers with a three-point play at the 9:24 mark. Smith’s 3-pointer with 6:20 to play cut the Governors margin to three and Kashawn Charles capped an EIU 14-2 run with a 3-pointer with 5:57 to play that knotted the game at 72-72.
The two teams traded the lead five times and have five ties in the final five minutes of the game setting the stage for the Shareef Smith game-winner.
Mack Smith was the third Panther in double figures in the game as he had 18 points. EIU shot 55 percent from the floor and 10-of-16 (63 percent) from 3-point range. The Panthers also won the battle on the glass with a 39-24 margin. Cam Burrell pulled down eight rebounds while JaQualis Matlock added seven.
Chris Porter-Bunton had 24 points to lead APSU going 3-of-3 from 3-point range. Taylor added 16 points while McGhee had 16 points and eight rebounds. APSU finished the night 13-of-23 from 3-point range.