RICHMOND, Ky. – A late 16-5 run was enough to send the Eastern Kentucky University’s men’s basketball team past a hot shooting Southern Illinois Edwardsville squad, 78-72, on Saturday at McBrayer Arena.
Despite shooting 60 percent for the game, the Cougars (4-8, 0-2 OVC) led for only 17 seconds over the final 37 minutes of the contest. The Colonels (12-3, 2-0 OVC) led by as many as 11 three times early in the second half and were in front by 10, 56-46, after a lay-up and free throw by Corey Walden with 11 minutes remaining.
SIUE answered with a 14-2 run. Jerome Jones and Kris Davis each hit three-pointers during the spurt and each accounted for five points. A lay-up by Michael Messer capped the run and put the visitors in front by two, 60-58, with 7:19 showing on the clock. Seventeen seconds later Walden hit two free throws that would start the game-clinching run.
After Walden’s two from the charity stripe, Mike DiNunno nailed a three-pointer. Messer answered with a three to tie it for the seventh and final time. Orlando Williams scored four straight and EKU led the rest of the way. Lay-ups by Jeff Johnson and Glenn Cosey, and a tip-in off an offensive rebound by Marcus Lewis wrapped up the 16-5 run and put the Colonels in front 74-65 with 43 seconds to play.
Eastern converted all four of its free throws in the final 30 seconds and finished the game 19-of-21 (90.5 percent) from the stripe.
DiNunno led four players in double figures for EKU with 17 points. Walden finished with 16 points, four assists and four rebounds. Eric Stutz went 4-for-5 from the field and 5-for-5 from the free throw line for 13 points. Williams finished with 12 points.
Jones led the Cougars with 15 points. Mark Yelovich added 14 points and a game-best seven rebounds.
SIUE made 27-of-45 from the field for 60 percent, including 7-of-13 (54 percent) from behind the three-point line. Eastern Kentucky connected on 26-of-56 for 46 percent and made just 7-of-25 (28 percent) from deep. However, the Colonels out-scored the Cougars by eight at the free throw line and committed nine fewer turnovers.
Eastern will return to action on Wednesday at Murray State. Both teams are 2-0 in conference play. Tip-off is scheduled for 8 p.m. ET.
The Colonels are ranked 23rd in the latest CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Top-25.
Sophomore Eric Stutz had a season-high 13 points.
Four Colonels scored in double figures for the first time since EKU played Western Carolina on December 1.
SIU Edwardsville entered the game 11th in the 12-team Ohio Valley Conference with an average of 61.6 points per game.
SIUE entered the game 11th in the OVC in field goal percentage (40.8 percent) but shot 60 percent tonight.
EKU now leads the all-time series with SIU Edwardsville 3-2.