RICHMOND, Ky. – Senior Mike Rose scored 20 points on 6-of-8 three-point shooting and the Eastern Kentucky University men’s basketball team held the visiting Winston-Salem State Rams to just 19 points in the second half to secure its first victory of the season Tuesday night, 69-44. Eastern Kentucky improves to 1-1 while WSSU falls to 0-2.
Rose’s 20 points lead all scorers while junior Papa Oppong chipped in with 15 points and a team-high eight rebounds. Sophomore Justin Stommes added 11 points and redshirt freshman Deveyon Hunter came off the bench to lead all reserves with five points. Freshman Josh Jones recorded a game-high five assists.
Winston-Salem State was led by forward Jamal Durham and guard Paul Davis with 12 points apiece.
With the game tied at six, the Colonels went on a 6-0 run, courtesy of two straight three-pointers by Stommes, to pull ahead of the Rams, 12-6. Winston-Salem State, however, clawed back to tie it, 15-15, with 7:45 left in the first half.
With the game tied, 17-17, Durham knocked down a three and then guard Lamar Monger hit a floater in the lane to give Winston-Salem State a five point lead. Rose, however, responded with two consecutive three-pointers to push the Colonel advantage back to 23-22 with 2:59 showing on the clock. Rose then sank two free throws to send it into halftime tied at 25.
The Colonels shot just 39 percent in the first half, but held the Rams to only 30 percent shooting. Rose led the Colonels at the half with eight points. Durham led all scorers with 10 points.
Trailing 28-25 early in the second stanza, the Colonels exploded on a 10-2 run, highlighted by two Rose threes and two buckets by Oppong, to take a 37-30 lead with 16:35 showing on the clock. A baseline jumper by freshman Jorge Camacho, a free throw by senior Ryan Wiersma and another three by Rose gave EKU its first double digit lead of the night, 44-33, with 9:44 to go. Another Rose three pointer – his sixth of the night – and a layup by Oppong ballooned the Colonel lead to 49-33.
Following a Camacho layup, Stommes put an exclamation on the victory with a thundering one-handed dunk down the lane that put EKU up 59-35.
EKU made up for a subpar first half with a 60 percent shooting performance in the second half as the Colonels shot 51 percent for the game. More importantly, the Colonels held the Rams 33 percent shooting in the second half and 31 percent for the game.
EKU returns to action on Saturday, Nov. 22 when they travel to take on the Texas Tech Red Raiders as part of the 2008 Legends Classic. Tip time is set for 2:00 p.m. ET.
--Mike Rose moved up to 17th on the EKU all-time scoring list, surpassing Kirk Greathouse (1988-92). Rose currently has 1,182 career points.
--This was the 17th time in Rose’s career he has scored 20 points or more in a game.