The Richmond Register

March 3, 2013

OVC HOOPS: Colonels fall in regular-season finale

By Bob Flynn
Register Sports Writer

RICHMOND — NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The Eastern Kentucky University men’s basketball team lost 85-81 in overtime at Tennessee State University on Saturday in both team’s regular-season finale.

EKU (23-8, 12-4 OVC) had two chances to win the game in the closing seconds of regulation. Mike DiNunno missed a three-pointer but Jeff Johnson grabbed the offensive rebound. Johnson fed Glenn Cosey whose floater at the buzzer rattled in and out.

The Tigers (17-13, 11-5 OVC) opened the overtime period with an 8-3 run to take control. Kellen Thorton’s free throws with 1:23 left capped the run and gave the home team a 79-74 lead.

EKU made just one-of-nine attempts from the field in overtime. In the second half and overtime combined, the Colonels shot 30 percent.

DiNunno finished with a team-high 24 points to go along with six assists. Glenn Cosey added 16 points.

Thornton had 25 points. Robert Covington scored 13 and grabbed 16 rebounds. TSU out-rebounded EKU 42-29.

The Tigers shot 71 percent in the second half as they came back from an 11-point deficit.

The Colonels play in the OVC Tournament quarterfinals on Thursday at 9 p.m. As the No. 3 seed, EKU will play the winner of the game between the No. 6 Southeast Missouri and No. 7 Eastern Illinois at Municipal Auditorium in Nashville.

Lady Colonels fall to TSU

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The Eastern Kentucky University women’s basketball team led by as many 14 points early in the second half, but could not hang on to the lead, as host Tennessee State rallied down the stretch for a 69-66 win in their regular-season finale on Saturday night at the Gentry Center.

EKU closes out the regular season with a record of 17-10 (11-5 OVC). The Lady Colonels will be the No. 5 seed in the upcoming Ohio Valley Conference Tournament and will play the No. 8 seed Murray State (16-12, 8-8 OVC) in the first round on Wednesday at 1 p.m. ET.

EKU went on the road and defeated Murray State, 69-49, during the regular season.

EKU exploded out of the gate on Saturday night, matching a season-high with 10 three-pointers in the first half alone. Junior Marie Carpenter was the leader of the long-range assault, knocking down 6-of-7 trifectas to finish the first half with 22 points. When senior Raechele Gray converted a layup at the buzzer, the Lady Colonels headed into the locker room at halftime with a comfortable 11-point advantage, 40-29.

The momentum carried into the second half, as senior Alex Jones scored six straight points to extend the EKU lead to 14, 49-35, with 16:50 to play in the game. However, TSU slowly chipped away at the lead, steadily feeding the ball to Simone Hopes in the paint, who delivered 16 key second half points to fuel the comeback. A jumper by Hopes gave the Lady Tigers their first lead of the second half, 57-56, with 5:24 on the clock.

EKU recaptured the lead and was up by three, 66-63, with just under a minute to play in the game. It was then that TSU’s Jasmine Shuler was fouled while shooting a three-pointer and converted all three foul shots to tie the score. Gray then missed a jumper on EKU’s next possession and TSU’s Rachel Allen was fouled on the opposite end of the floor. Allen made one free throw to give TSU the lead with 10 seconds on the clock.