By Nathan Hutchinson
Register Sports Editor
A match-up against NAIA Division II Cincinnati Christian in Friday’s season opener at McBrayer Arena provided the Colonels with a perfect opportunity to showcase their new-look line-up.
And the result was pretty impressive.
With two newcomers in the starting lineup, EKU looked sharp from the start. The Colonels scored the first 16 points of the game, got 20 points from junior transfer Glen Cosey and rolled to a 89-56 victory.
“I think we did really well,” EKU senior point guard Mike DiNunno said. “We had a really productive preseason. I would say out of the three years that I’ve been here (it was the productive). We’ve come (into the season) with a lot more cohesiveness.”
The Colonels didn’t play any preseason games this year. They did take part in two unofficial, closed-door scrimmages where statistics are not kept, but this was first chance for this group to play together in a completely competitive environment.
And for a team with six new players and only two starters back from last year, the result was very positive.
“This is the first time our guys have really and truly had a chance to compete to win,” EKU coach Jeff Neubauer said. “Our only goal coming into tonight was to win this basketball game. Defensively, I was really proud of our effort.”
Deverin Muff, a redshirt sophomore who missed all of last season because of an injury, started the Colonels big early run.
He connected on a pair of fall-away jumpers in the opening minute that put EKU up 4-0.
“That was huge for him,” DiNunno said of Muff. “He came here as a freshman and went from starter to redshirt. That’s the path he’s taken. There hasn’t been a Deverin sighting in almost two years.”
A few minutes later, back-to-back threes by Corey Walden and Jeff Johnson gave the Colonels a 16-0 lead.
The Colonels used 10 players, including four newcomers — Cosey, Tarius Johnson, Corey Walden and Marcus Lewis — in the first half. EKU shot 65 percent (20-of-31) and hit seven three-pointers and took a 49-25 lead into halftime. Cosey had 11 points in the opening half as eight Colonels scored.
Cincinnati Christian had 15 turnovers in the first half and attempted just 17 field goals. The Eagles were only six-of-12 from the line as well.
EKU’s lead expanded to 36 points early in the second half.
Cosey played 29 minutes and was 7-of-9 from the field and six-of-seven from the free throw line. He also had four rebounds and two assists.
“It was real good for Glenn to get it going,” Neubauer said. “He has been a great addition to our program. He made good decisions tonight.”
Eric Stutz had 11 points, while DiNunno and Johnson had 10 points each.
The Colonels shot just 41 percent in the second half, but finished at 53 percent for the game. EKU was 14-of-30 from three-point range and forced 24 turnovers.
The Colonels (1-0) are set to return to action Friday at home against Kennesaw State.