Register Staff Report
RALEIGH, N.C. – Eastern Kentucky University’s men’s basketball team led North Carolina State University by 10 in the first half, but couldn’t hold off a second half rally in a 75-56 loss on Saturday.
The Colonels (6-2) led 22-12 with 5:08 left in the first half and had a 27-21 advantage at the break. Eastern trailed by only three, 54-51, with six minutes left. However, the Wolfpack (4-2) went on a 17-0 run to put the game away.
Glenn Cosey led EKU with 14 points. Corey Walden finished with 13 points, five rebounds and four assists.
NCSU leading scorer T.J. Warren had four points in the first half but finished with 30 points and 11 rebounds.
The Wolfpack shot 66 percent in the second half and 50 percent for the game, despite making just 2-of-14 from behind the arc. Eastern Kentucky made 38 percent of its shots and was out-rebounded by 14.
Eastern used a 13-4 first half run to take its 10-point lead. Jeff Johnson, Timmy Knipp and Cosey each hit one three-pointer during the run. Cosey’s trey polished off the spurt.
The Wolfpack answered with a 9-2 run of their own to get within three. Cat Barber’s basket cut the deficit to 24-21 with 1:41 left. Neither team scored again until Cosey knocked down another three-pointer with one second left in the half to send the visitors to the locker room on top 27-21.
After shooting a cold
North Carolina State opened the second half with a cold shooting 9-28 from the floor and 0-7 from behind the arc, N.C. State opened the second half with a 9-2 run to take its first lead since early in the game, 30-29 on a Warren bucket.
Another Cosey three-pointer gave EKU its final lead, 35-32.
Behind the play of Warren and Anthony Barber, who scored seven straight points, the Wolfpack extended its lead to 47-41.
Eastern was down 54-51 with six minutes left to play, but the Colonels went 5:14 without scoring.
Meanwhile the Wolfpack was on fire offensively, taking a 20-point lead, 71-51, on a lay-up by Warren with 1:58 left in the game.
Both teams struggled shooting the ball in the first half.
Cosey, one of the OVC’s best shooters, struggled from behind the arc. Cosey didn’t hit his first three pointer until just over five minutes remained in the first half.
N.C. State was just as cold. The Wolfpack shot a frigid 3-17 from the field in the game’s first twelve minutes.
But thanks to the Colonels inability to find their shooting touch from the outside, they only led the Wolfpack 25-15.
The Colonels, who are known for their in-your-face, man-to-man defense, tried to neutralize the big height advantage the Wolfpack held by sitting back in a 2-3 zone and daring State to shoot from the outside.
The strategy worked well because the Wolfpack were cold from the outside.
But, the Wolfpack’s size still posed problems for EKU, as they scored 14 of their 21 first-half points came in the paint.
For the game, N.C. State held a commanding 44-29 rebounding edge over EKU.
That proved to be too much for the Colonels to overcome in the second half when the Wolfpack shooter began heating up from the outside.
North Carolina State is 10-1 all-time against Eastern. This was the first meeting between the schools since Jan. 23, 1960, a 58-50 NCSU win at Reynolds Coliseum. All 11 meetings have been in Raleigh.
The only EKU win was Feb. 28, 1959 (71-61). Eastern Kentucky is 13-35 against the Atlantic Coast Conference, while NC State is 14-2 against the Ohio Valley Conference.
The Colonels will be back in action on Thursday when they travel to face No. 24 ranked Virginia Commonwealth. The game is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m.