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February 8, 2014

OVC BASKETBALL: Second-half surge helps Eagles pull away for win

RICHMOND — Morehead State (16-9, 7-3 OVC) came away with an 86-79 win over EKU (17-8, 7-4 OVC) in an early-morning matchup of the two storied rivals in McBrayer Arena Saturday.

The Eagles broke open a tight game early in the second half behind guard Angelo Warner.

Warner scored 15 points of his 33 points in the second half to help the Eagles push out to a 73-60 lead with five minutes remaining and the Colonels could get no closer.

“I think today we got outplayed. I think Morehead had a great focus about them and I think they outplayed us,” EKU coach Jeff Neubauer said. “The best thing they did was they attacked us very well today.”

The Colonels had trouble all night containing the penetration by the Morehead guards and containing the big guys inside.

The inside tandem of Chad Posthumus and Billy Reader combined for 15 points and 13 rebounds and they completely disrupted the EKU offense in the first half.

Meanwhile, Warner, Kareem Story and Brent Arrington seemed to get to the lane at will. The three had 31 of Morehead’s 50 second-half points.

“They drove the ball from the top quite a bit. They also threw it over us quite effectively. Their guards would just throw it up to the rim, not for alley oops or dunks, but they were able to get the ball into the paint by lobbing over us,” Neubauer said. “We really haven’t played a lot of zone this year. But we did play some 1-3-1 zone in the second half because they attacked our man-to-man defense very effectively.”

The game was extremely tight in the first half with eight lead changes and seven ties.

Morehead built a 33-28 lead with 3:09 left.

But a three pointer by Orlando Williams and a basket by Glenn Cosey got the Colonels even at 33-33.

After Arrington put MSU up, Stutz tied it again at 35-35 with 35 seconds left.

A Warner free throw put Morehead up 36-35 at the half.

Marcus Lewis put the Colonels up 41-40 early in the second half, but Morehead answered right back.

A Warner three gave the Eagles a 43-41 lead with 16:10 remaining and started a 10-1 MSU run to put the Eagles up eight 50-42.

The Colonels cut the lead to four, 50-46 on a three-point play by Eric Stutz.

Morehead regrouped and extended its lead to as many as 13 points and the Colonels just couldn’t get over the hump after that.

Glenn Cosey lead five Colonels in double figures with 18 points, but struggled from the field, hitting only 4-of-13 shots and only 1-of-5 three pointers.

Morehead had a lot to do with Cosey’s struggles Neubauer said.

“I give Morehead’s defense credit for what Glenn did from the field today. They did a good job of guarding him and making him take tough shots,” Neubauer said. “They did deny him sometimes. But they also made him dribble inside the arc and take some tough shots. Obviously we want Glenn shooting and we want Glenn to try to find his offense because he is the number one option for us.”

Orlando Williams and Tarius Johnson finished with 14 points each, while Stutz and Corey Walden added 12 points each.

Marcus Lewis had five points and Isaac McGlone had three points and Jeff Johnson had one point.

The Eagles dominated the backboards, pulling down 43 rebounds to only 20 for the Colonels.

Neubauer said that wasn’t unexpected, but in the past the Colonels have been able to offset that with steals, but it didn’t happen Saturday.

“I’m not surprised by the rebounding differential at all. What we have been able to do against them in the past was get steals,” he said. “We did end up getting eight steals. It didn’t seem like that many. But we’ve been able to turn them over in the past and that has been the difference.”

The Colonels struggled at the free throw stripe, hitting 22-of-33 for 68.8 percent, while the Eagles were 25-of-31 for 80.6 percent.

Morehead shot 58.3 percent from the floor, their best shooting performance of the year. The 89 points were the most given up by the Colonels in a game this year.

The Colonels now hit the road for their next three games, beginning in Cookeville Tenn. with a matchup with Tennessee Tech on Thursday.

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