CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. – Eastern Kentucky University’s men’s basketball team tightened its defense and improved its rebounding in the second half to escape with an 81-72 win at Southeast Missouri State University on Saturday.
The Colonels (17-6, 7-3 OVC) allowed SEMO to shoot 60 percent in the first half, were out-rebounded by seven and trailed by two. However, in the second half, Eastern held the Redhawks (11-13, 3-7 OVC) to 36 percent shooting and out-rebounded the home team by five.
Sophomore Eric Stutz was a key to both improvements. He finished with 12 points, 11 rebounds and seven blocked shots. It was his first career double-double. Glenn Cosey had 21 points on four three-pointers and 9-for-10 shooting from the free throw line.
A pair of free throws by Marland Smith finished of six straight by SEMO that cut a 7-point Colonel advantage to one with 9:24 left in the game. However, Eastern answered with an 11-2 run and kept control for the rest of the game. DiNunno scored six and Stutz polished it off with two free throws for a 71-61 lead with 4:30 remaining.
Southeast got as close as five with 45 seconds showing on the clock before four straight free throws secured the win for Eastern Kentucky.
EKU shot 53 percent from the field and 47 percent from three-point range. The Colonels also made 16-of-18 (88.9 percent) from the free throw line. The Redhawks made 47 percent of their shots, but only 25 percent from behind the arc.
By the end of the game, SEMO had a 2-rebound edge, 31-29.