By Bob Flynn
Register Sports Writer
The Colonels stretched their season-opening winning streak to nine games Saturday with a 63-52 road win over Chattanooga.
After leading 33-18 at the half, the Colonels turned up the defensive intensity and used some red-hot shooting — 58 percent in the half — to stretch the lead to as much as 23 in the first 10 minutes of the second half.
The Mocs wouldn’t go away though and used a 10-0 run a few minutes later to cut the lead to 12 at 55-43 with 4:05 left, but could get no closer.
Glen Cosey, who had a career-high 23 points for the Colonels, came out on fire, hitting four three-pointers in scoring 17 first-half points. He also was the leading rebounder for the Colonels in the game with six, while also dishing out five assists and collecting three steals. He also played the entire 40 minutes of the game.
His running mate at guard, Mike DiNunno, also had a big night with 12 points, six assists and three steals.
Coach Jeff Neubauer said he was pleased with the Colonels’ defensive effort and unselfishness against the Mocs.
“Our defense is what is winning for us right now. We held Chattanooga to 18 (points) in the first half and 52 for the game,” Neubauer said in a postgame radio interview. “When you do that and you share the ball, we had 24 made field goals and 18 of them were assisted, it’s a really good formula.”
Cosey and DiNunno combined for six first-half three pointers, which Neubauer said was critical against the Chattanooga defense.
“Chattanooga is going to force you to beat them from three-point range. They really pack in their defense and make you shoot contested threes,” Neubauer said. “But when you’ve got somebody like Glenn Cosey out there making threes, it really does change the game.”
Chattanooga came into the game ranked 17th in the country in rebounding margin, but the Colonels more than held their own on the boards. EKU held an 18-14 rebounding edge over the Mocs in the first half, and finishing with only one fewer rebound, 29-28, than Chattanooga for the game.
“This was one of the best rebounding teams in the country, so for us to only get outrebounded by one in this game is a credit to our guys,” Neubauer said. “We had a lot of scrappiness. Corey Walden, Tarius Johnson and Glenn Cosey, I don’t know how many rebounds they ended up with, but they were really involved.”
Chattanooga forced the Colonels into 19 turnovers in the game, with many of them coming off the press during the Mocs second-half run.
Neubauer said with a week before they travel to Champagne, Ill., to take on the Illini, the Colonels will have time to work on their press offense.
“Over the past seven years we’ve been good at playing patiently when we’ve needed to and controlling the clock, but we’ve not worked on that as much this year and it showed up here tonight,” Neubauer said. “I knew we were not perfectly ready. We are not end of the season ready to handle the pressure, but we have a week of practice here to get ready for our next one.”
Tarius Johnson and Walden finished the night with seven points each. Johnson had five rebounds, while Walden pulled down three rebounds.
Stutz had six points and four rebounds, while Muff and Jeff Johnson had four each.
By Bob Flynn
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