After closing out the non-conference portion of their schedule on an eight-game skid, the Colonels were determined to send a message on Thursday as they opened up OVC play at home.
They did just that.
EKU blasted Tennessee Tech with a 9-0 run to start the game and never trailed in a 74-59 win at McBrayer Arena.
The Colonels (4-10, 1-0) flexed their offensive muscles -- shooting 50 percent from the field (28-of-56) and 44 percent (12-of-27) from three-point range.
Tre King led the Colonels with 15 points on 7-of-11 shooting. He also had two blocks and two steals. Ty Taylor hit three three-pointers and finished with 13 points, five rebounds and two assists. Russhard Cruickshank also knocked down three three-pointers and scored 13 points on 4-of-7 shooting.
"We wanted to show everybody in the Ohio Valley Conference that we can play and that we are going to make a run at this," Cruickshank said after the game. "Tonight, the shots were falling for everybody and we were in a great rhythm."
King said the team was ready to put the past behind them and embrace a fresh start.
"We knew we had a rough non conference, but tonight everybody was 0-0. We knew that if we could put together a whole 40 minutes that nobody could stop us and we did that," King said.
The Colonels went to work early.
EKU scored the first nine points of the game as Tech turned the ball over four times in the first two minutes.
The Colonels had an eight-point advantage, 25-17, with 10 minutes left in the first half when EKU once again used another big 21-6 run to take their largest lead of the night.
King sparked the run with a jumper before Cruickshank hit two free throws and a three-pointer to push the lead to 32-17.
Taylor and Lachlan Anderson knocked down a pair of three-pointers to stretch the lead to 40-23 with less than five minutes remaining in the first half.
A steal and lay-up from Cruickshank and a jumper from King capped the run and put the home squad on top 46-23.
EKU took a 49-30 lead into the locker room after shooting 56 percent. The Colonels out-scored Tech 13-0 in points off turnovers in the first 20 minutes of play.
"We came out in the first half and guys made some big time plays for us," EKU coach A.W. Hamilton said. "Russhard really got us going. That's the Russhard we recruited -- He can make shots, make plays, he talks, he plays hard on defense. I was really proud of him tonight."
Hamilton said the win is a testament to how hard the team has been working and how much the younger guys on the roster have grown.
"We have been playing much better, unfortunately we haven't been coming up with wins… We are young, but we are getting better. Guys are maturing," the coach said.
Tennessee Tech used a 10-3 run to draw within 10, 60-50, mid-way through the second half.
That was the closest the Eagles would get.
Michael Moreno, who played the second-most minutes of any Colonel on Thursday, helped get his team back on track.
The freshman made a pass to Taylor under pressure, who knocked down a three to end the TTU threat.
"There have been times we haven't handled adversity well this season. We handled it well tonight, they got great looks when we needed to get great looks," Hamilton said of his team in the second half.
Cruickshank said the Colonels were ready for the Eagles to make a run.
"Coach told us they were going to throw a punch and we needed to respond and that's what we did," the junior explained. "We came together and it feels good to have my teammates play really well."
The threat neutralized, the Colonels out-scored TTU 10-2 to go back in front by 18, 70-52, and roll to victory.
EKU also turned 16 Golden Eagle turnovers into a 21-5 edge in points off turnovers.
Jomaru Brown added 10 points for the Colonels. Lachlan Anderson had nine points and four rebounds off the bench, while Moreno chipped in eight points and five rebounds. JacQuess Hobbs had two points but dished out eight assists and had 10 deflections.
"I was proud of how we moved the ball in the first half and took open good shots. We ended up with 16 assists, which is really good for us. (Hobbs) was great. When we needed him the most he came in and he calmed us down and got us going again. I'm really proud of Hobbs," Hamilton said of the junior.
The Colonels will play host to Jacksonville State at 4 p.m. Saturday.