11.16 eku men

The Colonels weren't able to do the things they really like to do on Saturday against Albany (0-4) at McBrayer Arena.

Foul trouble forced them to back off their signature relentless, full-court press and an injury took their starting point guard off the court after just a couple of minutes.

They also hit a season-low nine three-pointers.

"It wasn't the prettiest win, but it was a win. We gutted it out," EKU coach A.W. Hamilton said.

EKU never trailed and finally pulled away from Albany late.

Michael Moreno had a team-best 15 points and seven points as the Colonels picked up a 77-64 win. Cooper Robb added 12 points and Devontae Blanton added 11 points and five assists.

EKU shot just 43 percent from the field, but had 10 players score in a victory over the winless Great Danes.

"A team's record this early in the season doesn't really describe how good they are. They came out and competed," Moreno said of Albany.

Senior Braxton Beverly started and played just eight minutes. He scored only two points.

"He's been dealing with a back injury for a while," Hamilton said of Beverly. "He has gutted it out and played to this point. He tweaked it again yesterday. He begged me to play. I let him do it. I probably shouldn't have. He's a tough kid. Hopefully, we will get this figured out. It may take some time."

With Beverly on the bench, the Colonels were still able to take a seemingly comfortable lead.

A three-pointer by Russhard Cruickshank with 11 minutes left in the first half gave EKU a 23-10 lead. The Great Danes got back with two points twice (27-25 and 31-29) and trailed just 40-35 at halftime.

"They came in 0-3, but they are going to beat some people," Hamilton said of Albany. "They play way too hard not to get a bunch of wins."

The first half featured 26 fouls and 33 free throws. Albany got the line 20 times as the Colonels went into the break with four players with more than two fouls (Cruickshank — 3).

"They did a good job driving on us," Hamilton said. "We did a bad job reaching and we put a lot of pressure (on our interior players)."

The Colonels went deep onto their bench as they slowed things down in the second half.

Eight players logged more than 15 minutes and everyone who stepped onto the court either scored, brought down a rebound or had an assist.

"The biggest thing we push in the locker room is the next-man-up mentality," Moreno said. "We've got an older team than we have in the past and we've got to guys ready to step and step in. That's really important."

EKU pushed back out to a double-digit lead on a basket by Tariq Balogun with 12:05 left in the second half. The Colonels would led by as much 14 points in the closing minutes.

EKU had hit at least 13 three-pointers in every game this season, but were just nine-of-26 from deep against Albany. The Colonels out-rebounded the Great Danes, 40-32, but had more turnovers than their opponent (15-14) for the first time this year.

"We came out and tried to do what we needed to do and follow the scouting report," EKU's Jomaru Brown said. "They came out and pressed and we had to figure it out. We got the job done."

Brown and Balogun had eight points each. Jannson Williams had seven points, seven rebounds and three blocks before fouling out. Curt Lewis had six points, Cruickshank had five points and Michael Wardy finished with three points.

EKU is set to return to action Monday at home against Eastern Illinois.

React to this story:


Trending Video