DURHAM, N.C. – Despite trailing for only 17 seconds, the Eastern Kentucky University men’s basketball team had to fight until the final minute to earn a 63-57 victory over North Carolina Central University in the Colonels’ first road game of the 2012-13 season.
At 8-0, Eastern Kentucky is off to its best start in 66 years. The last time EKU started a season with more than five wins was in 1946-47 when the “Maroons” won their first 11 games.
Mike DiNunno scored a game-high 21 points for the Colonels. He hit seven of his 12 shots from the field and 4-of-6 from behind the arc. Glenn Cosey added 11 points, a team-best seven rebounds, four assists and four steals.
Jeremy Ingram led the Eagles (5-5) with 18 points.
EKU trailed briefly in the first half but never led by more than 10 points. Cosey, who entered the game as the third leading scorer in the Ohio Valley Conference, had only two points before hitting back-to-back three-pointers with about five minutes left in the game. He pushed a four-point advantage to 10 with 3:22 left to play.
North Carolina Central answered with four straight to keep it close. The Eagles began fouling in the final minute and a half. The Colonels made just enough free throws, 8-for-12, to secure the victory.
Eastern Kentucky was out-rebounded by 19 but out-scored NCCU 32-14 off turnovers. The Eagles gave it away 22 times compared to only 10 for the Colonels. EKU limited the home team to 14 percent (1-for-7) shooting from three-point range.
The Colonels will be on the road again on Saturday when they play at Chattanooga. Tip-off against the Mocs is scheduled for 7 p.m.
Eastern’s eight-game winning streak is its longest since winning 10 in a row in 1964-65.
EKU is the only remaining unbeaten team in the Ohio Valley Conference.
The Colonels are one of only four remaining undefeated mid-major teams in the nation.
Eastern’s 8-0 start is the fourth best in program history. EKU’s best starts are 12-0 (1943-44), 11-0 (1946-47) and 9-0 (1939-40).