OVC MEN'S HOOPS: Disappointing first half leads to loss for EKU

EKU coach A.W. Hamilton was extremely disappointed with his team's performance in the first half Saturday at Southeast Missouri State.

And with good reason.

The Colonels (18-6, 12-5 OVC) shot 29 percent and were 4-of-23 from three-point range.

More importantly, though, they didn't play with the confident swagger they had carried for most of the season.

"We just got spooked in the first half," Hamilton said in a postgame radio interview. "That wasn't Eastern Kentucky basketball.

EKU trailed by 26 points (50-24) at halftime and was never really able to recover.

SEMO (9-14, 7-10 OVC) set a new season-high for points and rolled to a 94-72 win in Cape Girardeau, Mo. The Skyhawks hit 58 percent of their field goal attempts, including 14-of-25 from three-point range, and had 26 assists on 35 baskets.

"We just didn't guard at all," Hamilton said.

Michael Moreno had 19 points (5-of-7 three-pointers) and Curt Lewis had 18 points. Davontae Blanton and Russhard Cruickshank both had 10 points off the bench for EKU.

The loss drops the Colonels two games behind second-place Morehead State (17-7, 14-3) and a game ahead of Jacksonville State (15-8, 11-6).

"They did a great job," Hamilton said of SEMO. "They were very physical with us. They took us out of everything we wanted to do,"

The Colonels took a 12-9 lead on a Moreno three-pointer with 14:57 left in the first half. The Redhawks responded with a 13-0 run and never relinquished the lead again.

Chris Harris had 18 points, Eric Reed Jr., had 16 points and Nana Akenten had 15 points for SEMO, which snapped a four-game losing streak to EKU.

The Redhawks led by as much as 28 points in the second half.

Wendell Green Jr., had six points. Tre King had five points before fouling out. Peyton Broughton and Cooper Robb each had two points.

The Colonels shot 36 percent from the field, hit 11-of-28 three-pointers and were 11-of-17 at the free throw line.

SEMO won the battle of the boards, 47-28.

It was just EKU's second loss during a seven-game, two-week, three-state road swing.

The Colonels will end that long stretch away from home with another match-up with SEMO on Monday afternoon in Cape Girardau.

Game time is set for 3 p.m.

"We've got to do a much better job that than," Hamilton said of the rematch with SEMO.

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