RICHMOND - The Eastern Kentucky University men’s basketball team used a 23-1 run over a nine-minute span on Saturday night to defeat Morehead State 59-52 at McBrayer Arena.
The Colonels improve to 14-3 overall, 10-0 at home and 4-0 in the Ohio Valley Conference (its best OVC start since 1978-79), while the Eagles slip to 8-10 on the season and 2-2 in league contests.
“We are still a work in progress,” Morehead State Coach Sean Woods said. “I’m an impatient person and want to win right away (at Morehead State), but I also have to be realistic about our situation.”
“My team at Mississippi Valley State won a conference championship and played in the NCAA Tournament last year, but it was a process. It didn’t happen right away. I have to remember that.”
Morehead State trailed by a game-high 20 with six minutes remaining in the second half before outscoring the Colonels 20-7 the rest of the way to make the final margin just seven points.
Senior Mike DiNunno led four Eastern Kentucky players in double figures with 13, while junior Tarius Johnson notched 11. Sophomore Eric Stutz and junior Orlando Williams each finished with 10.
EKU finished the first half on an 18-1 run, holding MSU without a basket for the final 5:07, and then registered the first five points after intermission. The field-goal drought spanned nearly nine minutes.
“EKU’s run late in the first half really hurt us,” Woods said. “We started the game fairly well, but they made a bunch of shots and turned us over several times in the minutes leading up to halftime.”
Junior Drew Kelly registered his first double-double of the season for Morehead State, with team highs of 13 points and 10 rebounds. Kelly has now scored 10+ points in five straight games.
Junior Bakari Turner added 11 points for the Eagles, which was his second-straight effort in double figures. He was coming off a career-best 19 points in Wednesday’s setback at Austin Peay.
Morehead State committed 22 turnovers, its second highest total this year. Eastern Kentucky had advantages in paint points (30-22), fast-break points (12-2) and points via turnovers (26-19).
The Eagles turned in a 36-35 rebounding advantage, but the Colonels posted a 12-9 edge on the offensive glass. MSU has now out-rebounded 11 opponents this year, including the last five.
Eastern Kentucky shot 40 percent (21-of-53) for the game, including 43 percent in the second half. The Eagles managed 37 percent (19-of-51), including just 5-of-18 from three-point range.
“We didn’t shoot the ball well tonight and had too many unforced errors,” Woods said. “It’s extremely difficult to win road games against quality opponents with the number of mistakes we made.”