Speed will be on full display tonight as the Colonels take on Florida International University in Washington DC in a new four-game event called The Battle for the Capital.
Tip off is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. at the New Entertainment & Sports Arena.
Eastern Kentucky University basketball coach A.W. Hamilton said the Colonels will find themselves up against an opponent who is eerily similar.
“We are basically going to play a team that mirrors us. They are going to press, they are going to trap and push the ball really fast and get out in transition,” Hamilton said. “They play really fast. Just like us.”
So fast in fact, FIU was the team that played at the fastest adjusted tempo in the nation a season ago.
The Colonels were second.
While the scouting report on FIU will be easy to decipher for the Colonels, Hamilton noted that — with similar playing styles — it will even more important for EKU to take care of the ball.
The Colonels (3-2) defense has forced opponents into turnovers on an impressive 28.6 percent of all possessions, which ranks 10th among Division I teams. Florida International (2-2) has come up with takeaways over on 22.3 percent of its possessions, which is 288th nationally.
EKU rolled past Alice Lloyd College, 99-63, on Tuesday at McBrayer.
The Colonels just had nine turnovers that game.
Hamilton noted that fast pace with which the Eagles played will help the Colonels in tonight’s game.
"(Alice Lloyd) played us zone all game and they play fast just like we do. We needed that. We knew it was going to be an up-and-down game. I think the average length of possession was less than 10 seconds,” the coach said after the win over the Eagles.
The Colonels are second in the Ohio Valley Conference in scoring at 85.4 points per game and continued to show off their offensive skills on Tuesday.
EKU made 35 field goals on 27 assists during the win over Alice Lloyd and all seven Colonels who scored, scored in double figures with senior Ty Taylor leading the way with 18 points.
Three Colonels scored career highs vs. Alice Lloyd — sophomore Tre King (15), freshman Michael Moreno (14) and junior Cameron Carmical (12).
EKU held Alice Lloyd to 28.4 percent shooting from the field . That is the lowest field goal percentage by an EKU opponent since 2016.
The Colonels also lead the OVC in steals-per-game (12.2), free throw percentage (76.7) and turnover margin (+6.8).
Tonight will be the sixth all-time meeting between EKU and FIU.
The Colonels lead the series, 3-2, and have won two straight over the Panthers. The last matchup between the two programs came on Nov. 8, 2013 in Kennesaw, Ga., which ended in an 83-61 win for the Colonels.
FIU faced Cleveland State at the Wolstein Center in the opening round of the Battle for the Capital Tournament on Tuesday and rolled to a dominant 107-61 victory over the Vikings.
Osasumwen Osaghae recorded the Panthers' first double-double this season, recording 13 points and 10 rebounds in just 15 minutes played. Devon Andrews led all players with 16 points, shooting 7-of-12 from the field. Eric Lovett notched 14 points off the bench, and Cameron Corcoran tallied 12 points, shooting 4-of-6 from the three-point line.
Andrews leads the Panthers in scoring at 17.0 points-per-game this season.
EKU will play Cleveland State at the Battle for the Capital on Saturday.
Tip from the Entertainment & Sports Arena is scheduled for 3:30 p.m.