MOREHEAD, Ky. -- Morehead State held Eastern Illinois to 32 percent shooting in the first half and used a 23-5 run in the second period to register a 65-50 victory on Saturday night at Johnson Arena.
The Eagles improve to 8-8 overall, 7-2 at home and 2-0 in the Ohio Valley Conference with their third consecutive win, while the Panthers slip to 3-13 on the season, 0-8 on the road and 0-3 in league play with their ninth straight defeat.
MSU has now won 85 percent (57-10) of its home games over the past five campaigns, including 92 percent (34-3) in OVC action. EIU continues to lead the all-time series 22-12, but the Eagles have won each of the last four affairs.
Eastern Illinois made 6-of-19 from the field in the first half en route to only 17 points. The Panthers hit 46 percent (12-of-26) in the second half, but finished at just 40 percent (18-of-45) overall.
Morehead State drilled 48 percent (22-of-46) from the floor in the contest. The Eagles managed only 39 percent (9-of-23) before the break, but canned 57 percent (13-of-23) in the second stanza.
Morehead State posted scoring advantages of 20-2 off the bench, 15-4 on the fast break, 8-3 on second chances and 28-20 in the paint. The Eagles also recorded a 36-21 rebounding advantage.
MSU committed 22 turnovers and forced 21. The Eagles managed a 9-8 edge in steals and 23-21 upper hand in points off turnovers.
“I was pleased with our field-goal defense tonight, especially in the first half,” Head Coach Sean Woods said. “But I’m disappointed in the number of turnovers we committed against a team that didn’t put much pressure on us.”
Junior Drew Kelly, junior Maurice Lewis-Briggs and sophomore Angelo Warner led Morehead State with 11 points apiece. Junior Sherman Blanford paced Eastern Illinois with a game-best 14 points, while sophomore Josh Piper added 13.
Lewis-Briggs pulled down a game-high nine rebounds, while Warner contributed seven. Senior Devon Atkinson dished out a game-best six assists, while junior Chad Posthumus tallied four of Morehead State’s five blocked shots.
Morehead State’s largest lead of 21 points came with 5:17 to play, but Eastern Illinois closed the tilt with an 18-12 spurt. The Panthers scored the game’s first two buckets, but the Eagles put together a 10-0 run and never looked back.
"It’s great to be 2-0 in the OVC, but we’re still a work in progress,” Woods said. “This team has a lot of potential, and I know we can get better. The most disappointing thing was we didn’t finish the game the way we’re supposed to.”
The Eagles will play their next four games on the road, beginning with Wednesday’s 8 p.m. ET contest at OVC foe Austin Peay. MSU then travels to Eastern Kentucky next Saturday at 7 p.m. Follow all contests via MSUEagles.com.
“We need better results on the road,” Woods added. “I’m looking forward to seeing how this group does during our upcoming four-game trip. You have to win games on the road if you have aspirations of competing for a conference championship -- and we do.”