BROOKLYN, N.Y. -- Seniors Milton Chavis and Kahlil Owens combined for 36 points and 16 rebounds to help the Morehead State men’s basketball team register a 77-74 victory over LIU Brooklyn on Friday night at the Barclays Center.
Chavis posted a career-high 24 points on 9-of-16 from the floor. He also recorded four rebounds and three steals. Owens contributed 12 points on 6-of-9 from the field and pulled down 12 boards for his first double-double in 31 career contests at MSU.
The game marked the season opener for both squads and the first at Morehead State for Head Coach Sean Woods. It was part of a doubleheader at the Barclays Center, which was built for $1 billion and serves as the new home of the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets.
“I’m proud of our young men,” Woods said. “We let the lead slip away late, but we hung on for a big win against a quality opponent. LIU Brooklyn is the two-time defending Northeast Conference champion, and beating them in Brooklyn is big for our program.”
Morehead State grabbed its largest lead of the tilt at 73-62 with 3:55 to play, but a 12-2 run by LIU Brooklyn made it 75-74 with six seconds remaining. Junior Bakari Turner then knocked down two free throws, and LIUB’s 25-footer at the buzzer rimmed out.
Chavis and Owens led four players in double figures for the Eagles, who recorded a 31-9 advantage off the bench. Senior Devon Atkinson added 13 points and four assists, while junior Maurice Lewis-Briggs chipped in with 12 points and six boards in just 19 minutes.
“Our style of play really suits Milton,” Woods said. “He was able to run the floor tonight and use his athleticism. His 24 points were really big for us. We needed every one of them. I think Eagle fans are going to see lots of positive contributions from Milton this year.”
LIU Brooklyn had a 16-point edge at the free-throw line as a result of 27 Morehead State fouls, but the Eagles were +21 in points from long distance. MSU was also +4 in the rebounding department and registered a 12-6 advantage in fast-break points.
LIU Brooklyn senior Jamal Olasewere led all scorers with 26 points on 14-of-19 from the charity stripe. Senior Julian Boyd added 19 points on 8-of-13 from the field for the Blackbirds, while junior Jason Brickman tossed in 12 points and eight assists.
MSU used 13 players in the affair, including eight newcomers.
“I thought we did a good job of wearing LIU Brooklyn down tonight with our pace,” Woods said. “We have every intention of playing fast this year, and we have to keep fresh legs on the court. Everyone on our roster will need to be ready at all times.”
Morehead State connected on 9-of-23 from downtown, including 6-of-13 before intermission. The Eagles owned a 38-37 advantage at halftime.
The Eagles continue the Barclays Center Classic on Monday at Atlantic Coast Conference foe Maryland. Tip-off from the Comcast Center is set for 8 p.m. ET. The game will be televised by Fox Sports South as part of the ACC’s TV package.