RICHMOND, Ky. – The Eastern Kentucky University men’s basketball team built a 26-point halftime cushion, but had to hold on for an 82-68 victory over Alabama A&M Tuesday night in McBrayer Arena. The Colonels have now won 19 straight home non-conference games.
Eastern (5-1) shot 48.4 percent (15-of-31) from the floor and 50 percent from three-point land (6-of-12) in the first 20 minutes to take a 54-28 lead into intermission. However, Alabama A&M (1-3) rallied to within six points on two occasions late in the contest before the Colonels finally fought off the Bulldogs.
EKU was able to keep Alabama A&M at bay partly due to its free throw shooting. The Colonels netted 36-of-39 (92.3 percent) from the charity stripe, including 18-of-19 (94.7 percent) in the second half.
Senior Glenn Cosey led four EKU players in double figures with a game-high 23 points, which also marked his third straight game scoring at last 20 points. Junior Corey Walden added 16 points and senior Tarius Johnson chipped in with 14 tallies. Meanwhile, junior Eric Stutz recorded his first double-double of the season with 11 points and 11 boards.
Jeremy Crutcher and Brandon Ellis each reached 14 points for Alabama A&M as the duo combined to go 5-of-8 (62.5 percent) from behind the arc.
After Alabama A&M opened the scoring with an Ellis three-pointer, the Colonels responded with 11 straight points and never trailed the rest of the way. Another 11-0 run later in the first half, highlighted by a Stutz dunk, extended Eastern’s cushion to 31-13. Senior Jeff Johnson converted two free throws right before intermission to push the advantage to 26 points.
Eastern Kentucky struggled at the start of the second half, missing its first four shots and turning the ball over six times allowing the Bulldogs to rattle off 12 consecutive points and close the gap to 54-40.
An Ellis jumper with 5:35 left cut the deficit to single digits at 62-54. Alabama A&M then got to within six points at 66-60 and 68-62, only to see Eastern make all 10 free throw attempts in the final two minutes of action.
The Colonels only shot 27.8 percent (5-of-18) from the field in the second half and missed all eight three-point shots.
Eastern Kentucky concludes its four-game home stand on Friday, Nov. 22 against Brescia. Game time is set for 7 p.m.
Alabama A&M entered the game having committed only 8.7 turnovers per game this season. The Bulldogs had nine at halftime and finished with 15.
The two teams combined for 14 three-point attempts in the first 10 minutes of the game.
Alabama A&M’s first three opponents shot 43 percent from three-point range. The Colonels made just 30 percent (6-for-20) on Tuesday.
Eastern out-rebounded its opponent for only the second time this season.
EKU improved to 2-0 all-time against Alabama A&M.
EKU is 3-0 this season when scoring 80-plus. The Colonels are 39-6 (.867) under Jeff Neubauer when scoring 80 or more.