RICHMOND, Ky. – Five players reached double figures and the Eastern Kentucky University men’s basketball team shot a season-best 64 percent from the floor on the way to a dominating 89-66 win over the University of Tennessee at Martin Thursday night.
With the win, the Colonels (15-7, 6-3 OVC) improve to 8-1 in the friendly confines of McBrayer Arena.
Eastern Kentucky finished out the first half on an 11-1 run to take a 42-30 lead into intermission. The Colonels shot 66.7 percent (16-of-24) from the floor in the first 20 minutes, their best shooting percentage in a half against a Division I opponent this season.
UT Martin (7-17, 2-7) never challenged in the second half. Two thunderous dunks from senior Marcus Lewis gave Eastern a 20-point cushion with 12:44 left, 63-43. The Colonels eventually stretched their lead to as many as 30 points down the stretch.
After committing 10 turnovers in the opening stanza, EKU settled down and committed just two in the second half.
The Skyhawks have struggled on the road this season and are now 0-5 in OVC away games.
Lewis paced the Colonels with 19 points, one point shy of his career high. Senior Glenn Cosey (18 points), junior Eric Stutz (14), senior Tarius Johnson (12) and senior Orlando Williams (10) also reached double figures. Stutz posted at least 10 points for the fifth straight game. Meanwhile, freshman Isaac McGlone chipped in with nine points on 3-for-3 shooting from behind the arc.
For UT Martin, Myles Taylor had 17 points and Dee Oldham posted 16.
The Colonels will continue their four-game home stand on Saturday against Southeast Missouri State. The Redhawks were picked to win the OVC West Division in the preseason poll. Tip-off at McBrayer Arena is set for 7 p.m.
EKU entered the game fifth in the nation in steals (197) and sixth with an average of 9.4 per game. The Colonels had just six steals on Thursday against UT Martin.
Eastern Kentucky improved to 9-1 this season when scoring 80 or more points and 45-7 under head coach Jeff Neubauer when reaching the 80-point plateau.
Eastern has the second-best turnover margin in the nation (+6.8), but finished with only four fewer turnovers than Tennessee-Martin tonight.
Tennessee-Martin entered the game second in the OVC with a +2.87 turnover margin.
UTM entered the game allowing 80.4 points per game, most in the OVC. The Skyhawks were also last in the league with a field goal defense of 51.6 percent. EKU scored 89 and shot 64 percent from the field.
With 10 points tonight, Eric Stutz has scored in double figures in five straight games for the second time in his career.
The two teams entered the game with the worst rebounding margins in the OVC. UT Martin had been out-rebounded by 5.6 per game while EKU had been out-rebounded by 6.1. The Skyhawks won the battle of the boards by four.