RICHMOND, Ky. (EKU Sports) – Eastern Kentucky was tied with Tennessee State with less than seven minutes to play, but the Colonels put the game away with a 13-5 run to secure an 89-84 victory, their 21st of the season.
Eastern Kentucky (21-6, 15-5) will begin play at the 2021 Ohio Valley Conference Tournament on Thursday in Evansville. The third seeded Colonels will play No. 6 seed Austin Peay at 10:30 p.m. ET. The game will air live on ESPN+.
Wendell Green Jr. finished with a game-best 23 points to go along with five rebounds, five assists and one steal. He made 5-of-11 from the field, but connected on 12-of-13 from the free throw line. Curt Lewis added 20 points.
Monty Johal’s jumper for Tennessee State (4-19, 3-17 OVC) tied the game 71-71 with 6:22 left to play. The basket also completed a TSU comeback from 14 points down early in the second half.
EKU’s game-securing run began with a lay-up on the other end from Lewis. King’s jumper in the paint put the home team up four 75-71. The Tigers closed within one, 75-74, on two free throws from Josh Linder with 4:52 showing on the clock.
Eastern scored nine of the next 11 points to cap the 13-5 run. A jumper and free throw from Green made it 82-76. Two more from the charity stripe by Green with 2:08 to go finished it off and put the Colonels in front 84-76.
EKU made 5-of-6 at the line to close out the game.
Tennessee State shot 53 percent for the game, compared to 44 percent for Eastern Kentucky, but the Colonels finished 27-of-28 at the free throw line and out-scored TSU by 13 at the stripe.
Mark Freeman had a team-high 21 for the Tigers. Johal finished with 17 points.
Eastern scored seven of the first eight points of the second half to stretch an eight-point halftime lead to 14, 50-36. Tennessee State got back into the game by answering with a 13-3 run to close the gap to four, 53-49, with 16:02 left in the game.