MOREHEAD, Ky. – Eastern Kentucky University’s men’s basketball team held host Morehead State University without a field goal for a stretch of 10 minutes and 51 seconds in the second half and slowly pulled away from its in-state and Ohio Valley Conference rival, 76-65, on Saturday at Johnson Arena.
The win snapped EKU’s two-game losing streak. The Colonels have now won three consecutive games over Morehead State dating back to last season.
After a back-and-forth first half that featured seven ties and nine lead changes, the game was knotted at 44-44 just after the first media timeout of the second half; however, a jumper by junior Corey Walden sparked a 6-0 EKU (11-6, 2-2 OVC) run, gave the Colonels a 50-44 lead and some breathing room with 13:56 remaining in the game.
With EKU’s defense stifling Morehead State (11-7, 2-1 OVC) from the field, the Colonels slowly began pulling away from there. A three-pointer from the corner by senior Tarius Johnson gave the Colonels their first double-digit advantage of the game, 66-55, with 6:27 on the clock.
MSU got no closer than seven points the rest of the way.
Walden led the way for EKU, scoring a game-high 19 points while adding four rebounds, four assists and matching a career-best with six steals. Senior Glenn Cosey added 18 points and five assists while senior Orlando Williams came off the bench to tally 14 points.
Angelo Warner paced Morehead State with 17 points. Brent Arrington contributed 11 points.
The Eagles connected on only five field goals in the second half, but converted 21-of-23 free throws (91.3 percent) in the second half to stay in the game.
The Colonels will be back in action on Thursday when they host Belmont for a nationally televised game on ESPNU. Tip-off at McBrayer Arena is set for 7:02 p.m.
Eastern Kentucky is ranked 20th in the latest CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Top 25.
Eastern’s previous three opponents, and five of its last seven, had shot 50 percent or better from the field. Morehead State shot 43.9 percent on Saturday.
The two teams entered the game first and second in the OVC in steals. EKU averages 9.8 while MSU averages 9.1 per game. Eastern had 10 steals and Morehead State had five.
Entering this game, Eastern Kentucky had committed 111 fewer turnovers and out-scored its opponents by 192 points off turnovers (364-172). The Colonels out-scored the Eagles 19-18 off turnovers.
Entering Saturday’s game, EKU’s opponents had averaged 17.1 turnovers per game while Morehead State’s opponents had averaged 17.8 turnovers per game. Eastern however is third in the nation in turnover margin (+6.9) while MSU is 83rd (+1.8). EKU was +10 on Saturday.
Morehead State entered the game leading the OVC and ranking second in the nation with 510 free throw attempts (30 per game). The Eagles went to the line 27 times on Saturday against the Colonels.
Morehead State entered the game 11th among 12 teams in the OVC with a 65.1 free throw percentage. The Eagles shot 92.6 percent at the stripe against EKU.
Morehead State entered the game leading the OVC and 15th in the nation in rebound margin (+8.4). The Eagles out-rebounded Eastern by 12.
EKU leads the all-time series 106-75 and is 39-45 in games played in Morehead. The Colonels have won three straight in the series.