RICHMOND, Ky. – The Eastern Kentucky University men’s basketball team used a 14-0 run midway through the second half to put away Tennessee State Saturday night in McBrayer Arena, 77-59. With the win, EKU (13-9, 6-5 OVC) snapped a three-game home losing streak to TSU (6-15, 4-7 OVC).
Leading by only five points at halftime, EKU shot 57 percent (16-of-28) from the field in the second half, including 50 percent (5-of-10) from three-point range, to blow past the Tigers. The Colonels are now 8-0 when they shoot 50 percent or better, and 12-1 when they out-shoot their opponent.
Senior Mike Rose led all scorers with 23 points. The performance moved Rose into a tie for fifth on EKU’s all-time scoring chart with 1,592 points. The Naperville, Ill., native also led EKU with seven rebounds, five assists and three steals to cap one of his most complete games as a Colonel.
Sophomore Justin Stommes recorded a career-high 20 points. Stommes continued his recent hot shooting by connecting on 6-of-10 field goals and 2-of-2 three-pointers. Juniors Papa Oppong and Josh Taylor contributed with 10 points each.
Senior Jerrell Houston led Tennessee State with 14 points. Sophomore Darius Cox and freshman Parker Smith chipped in with 10 points apiece. EKU’s defense stifled TSU’s leading scorer Gerald Robinson (18.1 ppg) to only five points, his lowest output of the season.
EKU jumped out to an 11-0 lead to begin the game. Tennessee State, though, used efficient field goal shooting to stay within striking distance, and two free throws by Houston pulled the Tigers to within two, 26-24, at the 2:50 mark of the first half. A three point-play by Oppong on the ensuing possession, however, rallied the Colonels, and EKU went into intermission up, 33-28.
Rose led all scorers at the half with 11 points on 4-of-6 shooting. Stommes and Oppong chipped in with nine and eight first half points, respectively.
Senior Emmanuel Gaiter paced TSU with six points at the break. Robinson contributed with four assists.
A Stommes dunk and free throw with 15:22 showing on the clock in the second half gave the Colonels a 43-31 advantage, their first double digit lead since six minutes into the first half. A three-pointer by junior Robin Mestdagh at the 12:45 mark set off the 14-0 Colonel run, capped by a breakaway layup from freshman Josh Jones that put EKU up 63-35.
The Colonels return to action on Thursday, Feb. 5 at Tennessee Tech. Tip time is set for 8:30 p.m.