The EKU men’s basketball team snapped an eight-game skid on Thursday when they opened Ohio Valley Conference play with a dominant win.

The Colonels (4-10, 1-0 OVC) never trailed as they rolled past Tennessee Tech in 74-59 victory.

EKU’s offense shined, connecting on 12-of-27 three-pointers — their best three-point shooting percentage of the season.

It was also the most three-pointers they have hit against a Division-I opponent this season.

Junior Russhard Cruickshank said, after a rough end to non-conference play, the Colonels are determined to prove their detractors wrong.

“We have four home games (to open up conference play) and we have the opportunity to make a statement in these home games and take a big lead in the OVC,” Cruickshank said after the Colonels win on Thursday.

They will look to build on that momentum when they take on Jacksonville State today at McBrayer Arena.

Tip-off is set for 4 p.m.

EKU put together a strong game on Thursday, with four Colonels ending the game with double digits.

Sophomore Tre King led a balanced EKU scoring effort with 15 points. He added four rebounds, two steals and two blocks.

Cruickshank came off the bench and shot 3-of-5 from deep and finished with 13 points. Cruickshank ranks 13th in the OVC in three-point field goal percentage (37.5).

Junior JacQuess Hobbs finished with a season-best eight assists and zero turnovers and now ranks fourth in the OVC in assist-turnover ratio (2.4).

Senior Ty Taylor hit three three-pointers and finished with 13 points, five rebounds and two assists.

Tonight, will mark the 100th collegiate game Taylor has played in. The guard previously played at Wichita State (2015-16) and UNC Wilmington (2017-19).

Jomaru Brown added 10 points against Tech.

EKU coach A.W. Hamilton praised his team’s growth, but noted the Colonels will have to continue to thrive on both sides of the ball.

“We have a lot of work to do. We have to attack the zone better, we let it slow us down a little bit. We have to get back to pressing more. Tonight, we only forced 16 turnovers — that might be a season low for us… We’re usually getting about 22. We only came up with five steals… I’m proud of my guys and we will continue to work hard and get better,” Hamilton said on Thursday.

The Gamecocks (6-8, 1-0 OVC) enter today’s game on a two-game winning streak after edging past Morehead State 76-72 in their conference opener on Thursday.

De’Torrion Ware and Jacara Cross average 11.8 and 11.1 points-per-game, respectively, to lead the Gamecocks.

Ware has connected on 32.5 percent of the 83 three-pointers he’s attempted and has made 8-of-18 over the past three games. He’s also converted 77.3 percent of his foul shots this season.

This is the 33rd all-time meeting between EKU and Jacksonville State. Eastern leads the series, 21-11.

The Colonels and Gamecocks split last season’s matchups.

EKU defeated JSU, 88-70, in Berea on Jan. 24. Jacksonville State outlasted EKU, 104-101, in double overtime in Jacksonville on Feb. 23. 

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