OVC MEN'S HOOPS: Colonels top Skyhawks again

A month ago, the Colonels tied an Ohio Valley Conference record by hitting 20 three-pointers in a 40-point victory over UT-Martin at McBrayer Arena.

The teams met again on Thursday - and the rematch played out much differently.

The result, however, was still the same.

EKU (18-5, 12-4 Ohio Valley Conference) trailed by three points at half, but puled away in the second half to claim a 89-72 victory over the Skyhawks (7-14, 5-12) in Martin, Tenn. The Colonels shot 60 percent from the field after halftime and forced 19 total turnovers.

Tre King had 24 points and Wendell Green Jr., added 17 points, six rebounds and six assists as EKU picked up its seventh OVC road of the season - a new program record.

"I told them (in the locker room at halftime) that I was disappointed because we weren't going to be able to put together a 40-minute game," EKU coach A.W. Hamilton said in a postgame radio interview. "(But I told them), the great news is, though, that we can put together a great 20 minutes. We are only down three points. Let's just do us. Let's go out and give great energy. Let's get our press going."

The Colonels did just that.

After forcing only five turnovers in the first half, EKU came up with five turnovers in the opening three minutes of the second half.

"The turnovers were the difference for us," King said in a postgame radio interview.

The game was the fifth in 11 days for the Colonels - all of which were on the road.

They still got off to a fast start against the Skyhawks. EKU hit its first five field goals, including 3-of-3 from three-point range, and had a 14-11 lead.

The Colonels hit only five of their next 17 shots, though, and trailed by seven points (27-20).

"It's not easy to win on the road," Hamilton said. "It's not easy to go through what these guys have gone through with this schedule."

The Colonels are 4-1 on the current road swing, with the only loss to first-place Belmont.

EKU will play two games at Southeast Missouri State (Saturday and Monday) before returning home to wrap up the regular season next week.

"It hasn't been easy," King said. "We all miss home. We all miss our families and we all miss our fans."

The Colonels opened the second half on a 7-0 run to re-take the lead, but couldn't shake the Skyhawks for a while. King had back-to-back baskets to put EKU up 63-56 and Green Jr., had a field goal and two free throws that pushed the lead to double-digits for the first time.

"I'm proud of our guys," Hamilton said. "I love how we responded. We played sensational in the second half - and that's all that matters."

King had 19 points in the second half on 8-of-10 shooting.

Curt Lewis had 13 points and six rebounds. Cooper Robb had 10 points. Davontae Blanton had nine points. Michael Moreno had six points and six rebounds.

Tariq Balogun had four points, while Russhard Cruickshank and Jacquess Hobbs had three points each.

The Colonels attempted fewer three-pointers (17) than they hit (20) in the first meeting with UT-Martin. EKU shot 54 percent overall (7-of-17 three-pointers) and was only 20-of-31 from the free throw line.

EKU remains in third place in the OVC standings - a game behind Morehead State - with four games left on the schedule.

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