CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (Morehead State Athletics)- Another lock-down effort on defense, plus four double-figure scorers on the offensive end of the floor, propelled Morehead State men’s basketball to its fifth consecutive win, a 64-50 triumph at Southeast Missouri, Saturday night at the Show Me Center.
Morehead State improved to 6-2 in the OVC (and 9-6 overall), its best eight-game league start since being 7-1 in 2009-10. The Eagles also completed the program’s first-ever sweep of the road trip that includes Eastern Illinois and Southeast Missouri. Today’s game was originally scheduled to be at SIUE but was postponed until Feb. 23. It also marked the first time Jan. 2-4, 2003 that Morehead State has swept an OVC road trip and won by a combined 40+ points.
The Eagles’ five-game success streak is also the first time 2015-16 the program has seen a win in five straight contests. Three of the five wins have come on the road, the first overall three-game road winning streak since 2015-16 as well.
After seeing the game tied 31-all at the half, Morehead State’s league-leading defense turned up the intensity in the final 20 minutes. The home team made only six of 20 field goals and shot 30 percent while scoring just 19 points. That was the lowest opponent point total for one half this season.
James Baker, Jr., the Eagles’ lone senior, led the way with 14 points on 6-of-6 shooting. Baker is now 12-of-14 from the field in the last two games. Junior guards Skyelar Potter and DeVon Cooper each scored 11, and freshman forward Johni Broome rounded out the double figure performances with 10.
– Nana Akenten’s second of four first-half three-pointers gave SEMO an early 6-2 advantage.
– Broome’s layup at 16:11 gave MSU a 7-6 lead, and the Eagles held SEMO without a field for the next 6:40.
– Junior forward LJ Bryan’s two free throws at 12:02 of the first half capped a 15-0 run by the Eagles for a 17-6 lead.
– MSU did not hit a field goal in the final 4:36 of the half but did drain four free throws. Akenton hit his fourth triple with 41 ticks left in the half to tie the game at 31.
– The Eagles scored the second half’s first 10 points. Cooper slid into the lane and dropped in a layup at 16:40 for a 41-31 lead.
– The Redhawks trimmed the Eagle lead to five (42-37) with 12:51 left, but over the next eight minutes MSU outscored SEMO 14-4. Cooper’s free throw at 4:48 gave his team a 56-41 lead.
– MSU shot 50 percent (13-of-26) in the second half and 46 percent (23-of-50) on the night.
– Morehead State forced 19 SEMO mistakes, made just 12 of its own, and turned that into a 22-2 advantage in points off turnovers.
– The Redhawks nipped the Eagles in rebounds, 32-31, just the fifth team to out-rebound MSU this year. The Eagles entered as the league’s best team in rebound margin at +7 in league games.
– Broome came up with a career-high three steals.
– MSU saw Akenton score 12 first-half points but limited SEMO’s top scorer to just two second-half points. He only was able to attempt two second-half three-pointers too and missed both.
– MSU scored 30 points in the paint.
Morehead State will face SEMO for the second straight game on Thursday when the Redhawks visit Johnson Arena for a 7 p.m. ET game slated to air on ESPNU. SEMO has a make-up game scheduled for Tuesday at Tennessee State.