By Bob Flynn
Register Sports Writer
Cold shooting and some abysmal rebounding doomed the Colonels (16-6, 6-3 OVC) in a 72-65 loss on the road Thursday to UT-Martin (6-16, 3-7 OVC).
EKU shot 23-of-65 from the floor for 35.4 percent and was 12-of-38 from behind the three-point line for 31.6 percent against the Martin zone defense.
The Skyhawks absolutely dominated EKU on the backboards, outrebounding the Colonels 51-28.
They also went to the free-throw line 34 times, hitting 28 of those, while the Colonels were seven-of-13 from the free throw line.
EKU had no answer for Martin’s Myles Taylor, who finished with a game-high 21 points and 14 rebounds.
“Tennessee Martin did a very good job of executing tonight and got the ball inside. The number one man on the scouting report is Miles Taylor. They were able to post him and score and get fouled and he was very good on the glass as well,” EKU coach Jeff Neubauer said in a radio interview. “We did get some good looks. We didn’t get fouled enough, that was part of it. We wanted to drive it more than we did. You look at the offensive numbers, very disappointing.”
The loss spoiled the return of junior Glenn Cosey, who had missed the last six games due to an injury.
Cosey came off the Colonel’s bench three minutes into the game and made his presence felt immediately, hitting the first of his six three pointers on the Colonels’ first trip down the floor.
On the night, Cosey finished with a team-high 20 points on seven-of-18 shooting from the field and six-of-14 from behind the arc.
“I think Glenn did a tremendous job, this being his first game back. He kept us in it the first half. But we weren’t able to get any stops in the first half. Their field goal percentage was low, but we gave up 35 points in the first half and it got worse in the second,” Neubauer said.
The Colonels jumped out to a 7- 0 lead in the first two minutes before Martin pulled even.
The lead changed hands six times in the first half and neither team could build more than a five-point lead and the two teams went to the locker room tied at 35-35 at the half.
The second half was much the same as neither team scored on more than two consecutive possessions and the lead changed hands four more times before the Skyhawks took the lead for good at 55-54.
They built their largest lead of the night at seven, 66-59 on a three pointer and two free throws by Terence Smith with about a minute to go.
Tarius Johnson nailed a three pointer to pull EKU back to within four with 43 seconds to go.
After a free throw by Taylor, Cosey’s sixth three of the game pulled the Colonels to within two points at 67-65 with 33 seconds to go.
But as they had done all night, the Skyhawks hit their free throws down the stretch to seal the win.
Mike DiNunno finished with 14 points, while Corey Walden had 11, Tarius Johnson 10, Eric Stutz five, Timmy Knipp three and Marcus Lewis added two.
Neubauer said the Colonels will see much the same defense Saturday at Southeast Missouri State and will need to learn from the Martin loss.
“I do know that most teams in the country go through things like this. With that being said, it’s the good teams that respond and learn from it,” Neubauer said. “This is going to have a lot of carryover to Saturday. SEMO is going to guard us similarly, so if we can learn from this experience then this is going to be a great experience for us. But we need to respond.”