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updated: 2/1/2014 5:10 PM

Eastern Illinois defeats SIU-Edwardsville

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Associated Press

CHARLESTON, Ill. -- Sherman Blanford had 24 points, 13 rebounds and four steals as Eastern Illinois defeated SIU-Edwardsville 76-70 Saturday.

The Panthers (8-14, 5-5 Ohio Valley) shot 47.3 percent from the field and went 20 of 22 from the foul line. Reggie Smith finished with 17 points and Chris Olivier had 12 with eight boards.

SIU-Edwardsville (8-15, 4-5) shot 45.6 percent, but was outrebounded 37-28. Kris Davis scored 17 points and Keaton Jackson had 16.

Eastern Illinois erased a nine-point deficit in the second half, surging back to take a 65-63 lead after two 3-pointers from Jake Verhagen. Blanford added a layup and Zach Dickerson hit a jumper to lead by six with 1:37 remaining.

Christian Salecich hit a 3-pointer to pull the Cougars within three, but Eastern Illinois sank their next five free throws in the final 32 seconds to ice the game.

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