EKU’s furious second-half comeback falls one-point short at North Alabama

The Lions hit two free throws with 5.3 seconds left to claim the one-point victory

FLORENCE, AL (WTVQ/EKU ATHLETICS) – Eastern Kentucky overcame a 10-point second half deficit and led by one in the final seconds, but couldn’t hold off North Alabama in a 76-75 loss on Tuesday.

The Colonels (8-9, 0-3 ASUN) went up 75-74 when Russhard Cruickshank knocked down a 3-pointer from the right wing as the shot clock expired and 1:31 left in the game.  Neither team scored again until C.J. Brim went to the free throw line with 5.3 seconds to play and hit both to swing the lead to the Lions (8-8, 1-2 ASUN).

EKU got off a shot at the buzzer but it didn’t go down.

After two straight ASUN road games, the Colonels will be back home at McBrayer Arena on Saturday to host Jacksonville State.  Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m.

Cruickshank and Jomaru Brown led Eastern Kentucky with 14 points each.  Curt Lewis finished with 12 points.  Jannson Williams and Devontae Blanton each grabbed 10 rebounds and scored six points a piece.

Daniel Ortiz led all players with 20 points for North Alabama.  The Lions shot 49 percent from the field while holding the Colonels to 40 percent shooting.  EKU turned the ball over 18 times, three more than UNA.

A lay-up from Ortiz with 12 minutes left in the game capped an 8-0 North Alabama run that put the home team on top 63-53.

Eastern Kentucky answered immediately, scoring the next 14 straight points.  Cruickshank started it with a lay-up at the 10:34 mark.  Braxton Beverly’s 3-pointer from the right wing tied it, 63-63, with 8:09 to go.  Two free throws from Williams and one from Blanton capped the run and gave the Colonels a 67-63 lead with 7:03 remaining.

To view the game’s box score, click here.


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