MUNCIE, Ind. – The Eastern Kentucky University men’s basketball team tallied its third straight win thanks to a 71-58 victory over host Ball State Saturday afternoon at Worthen Arena. The Colonels move to 7-3 while the Cardinals fall to 4-5.
Junior Josh Taylor recorded a season-high 16 points, 12 of which came in the first half, to lead all Colonel scorers. Junior Papa Oppong added 11 points and nine rebounds while junior Dayvon Ellis chipped in with 11 points and six assists.
For Ball State, Anthony Newell posted a game-best 17 points.
Taylor jump-started the EKU offense with three early three-pointers to give the Colonels a 12-6 lead. The Cardinals later rolled off six straight points, highlighted by a Newell dunk, to level the score at 19-all.
From there, Eastern Kentucky responded with a 16-3 run to take control of the game. Six different Colonels contributed points during that stretch, including a pair of lay-ups from freshman Jorge Camacho. Camacho came off the bench to finish with eight points and six rebounds
Eastern shot 55.6 percent (15-of-27) from the field and 63.6 percent (7-of-11) from behind the arc in the first half and took a 41-30 lead into halftime.
The Colonels extended their cushion to 15, 45-30, early in the second half, but a six-minute cold stretch by EKU allowed Ball State to creep back into the game.
An old-fashioned three-point play from Newell with 10:28 left cut the Ball State deficit to four points, 48-44. Sophomore Justin Stommes finally ended the Eastern Kentucky drought on the ensuing possession to put the Colonels back up by seven, 51-44. A couple of minutes later, a three-point play from Ellis followed by another Stommes three-pointer pushed the advantage back up to 12 points, 59-47.
Eastern Kentucky held off the Cardinals down the stretch by converting 10-of-12 (83.3 percent) free throws in the final three minutes. Meanwhile, Ball State netted just 9-of-20 (45 percent) free throws for the game.
With the win, the Colonels improve to 6-0 against Ball State all-time and 2-0 against Mid-American Conference (MAC) opponents this year.
The Colonels have the next week off to concentrate on fall semester final exams. EKU is back in action on Saturday, Dec. 20 at Cincinnati. This will be Eastern’s first meeting against the Bearcats in 10 years.