RICHMOND, Va. – Eastern Kentucky University’s men’s basketball team lost, 71-68, in overtime at Virginia Commonwealth University on Thursday.
VCU (7-2) tied the game with 1:04 left in regulation on a jumper by Melvin Johnson and then held the Colonels (6-3) scoreless for the first 4:53 of the overtime period. The Rams scored just four points during that time and led by only two, 70-68, when Corey Walden converted a lay-up with seven seconds left.
Briante Weber made just one of two free throw attempts to make it a three-point game with six seconds remaining. Eastern’s Glenn Cosey missed on a three-point attempt to tie at the buzzer.
Walden led Eastern with 19 points. He also had a team-best eight rebounds, three steals and three assists. Cosey added 17 points, seven rebounds and four assists. Marcus Lewis finished with 15 points and three steals.
Treveon Graham had 15 points to lead VCU. Juvonte Reddic, the Rams’ leading scorer at 16.5 points per game, finished with seven points and 11 rebounds.
The two teams entered the game as the nation’s leaders in steals. VCU averaged 13 thefts per game, but finished with 10 tonight. EKU averaged 11.9 per game and had nine against the Rams. Facing Virginia Commonwealth’s HAVOC defense, Eastern Kentucky committed one fewer turnover than the home team.
Both teams shot the ball well overall. Eastern hit on 47 percent from the field, but made just 7-of-25 from behind the arc for 28 percent. VCU connected on 46 percent of its shots. The Rams made 9-of-16 (56 percent) from three-point range in the first half, but only knocked down 3-of-12 in the second half and finished 42 percent from deep.
VCU scored the first and last basket of the first half, and never led between those baskets. After the Rams scored first, Eastern ran off 10 straight. A three-pointer by Cosey and two free throws from Walden gave the Colonels their largest lead of 14 points, 22-8, with 10:53 on the clock.
EKU led by eight after a lay-up from Walden at the 2:44 mark, but the visitors did not score again in the first half. Virginia Commonwealth ended the half on a 10-0 run to take a 38-36 lead.
The game was tied five times in the second half and the lead changed hands seven times. Eastern Kentucky led by six, 54-48, after a lay-up by Walden with 11:40 left in the game. Two free throws by Lewis at the 8:12 mark kept the margin at five, 60-55. Virginia Commonwealth then went on a 9-2 run to take a 64-62 lead with 3:03 to go. Two free throws by Cosey and a dunk by Lewis swung the lead back in favor of the Colonels, 66-64, with 2:13 left in regulation, but EKU did not score again. Johnson’s jumper at 1:04 capped the scoring and ultimately sent the game to overtime.
The Colonels continue their two-game road trip on Saturday at Longwood University. Tip-off in Farmville, Va., is scheduled for 4 p.m.
VCU has been ranked as high as No. 10 in the AP Poll this season. The Rams were No. 24 in the Nov. 26 poll before falling out the next week.
Virginia Commonwealth is 182-29 at home over the 14-year history of Verizon Wireless Arena.
Eastern Kentucky out-scored VCU 14-8 off turnovers.
VCU had 15 steals leading to 21 Belmont turnovers when the two teams played in Nashville on Sunday. The Colonels limited the Rams to 10 steals and turned it over only 15 times.
Corey Walden set a new season-high with eight rebounds. His career-best is nine.
Glenn Cosey tied his career-high with seven rebounds.