Eastern Kentucky Cruises Past Panthers

The Eastern Kentucky University men’s basketball team scored 19 unanswered points early in the second half to cruise past Eastern Illinois Saturday night in McBrayer Arena, 73-55. It was EKU’s (16-10, 9-6, OVC) seventh straight win over EIU (11-14, 8-7) at home.

The Colonels shot 55.6 percent (25-of-45) from the field, pushing their record to 10-0 when they shoot 50 percent or better. Eastern Kentucky also connected on a season-high 55.2 percent (16-of-29) of its three-point attempts.

Senior Mike Rose led all scorers with 28 points, connecting on 6-of-10 three-pointers. Sophomore Justin Stommes added 12 points on 4-of-6 shooting from deep while freshman Joshua Jones recorded nine points, all of which came on three-pointers. Senior Ryan Wiersma contributed with a career-high seven assists.

Romain Martin paced EIU with 17 points while Tyler Laser scored 11.

Consecutive three-point buckets by Stommes and junior Josh Taylor sparked EKU to an early 11-3 lead. However, a Martin three at the 10:53 mark of the first half capped an 11-0 run for EIU and gave the Panthers their first lead of the game, 14-11. After a Stommes three-pointer put the Colonels up by seven with 2:16 showing on the clock, EIU scored the last five points of the half to go into intermission down only two, 33-31.

Rose paced EKU at halftime with 10 points. Wiersma recorded six of his seven assists in the first half.

Martin led all scorers at the break with 12 points.

EKU exploded out of halftime on a 12-4 run as a step-back three-pointer by Rose at the 15:51 mark gave the Colonels their first double digit lead of the game, 45-35. A Stommes trifecta and a three-point play by freshman Jorge Camacho expanded EKU’s lead to 51-35 with 13:52 left. Seven straight points by Rose completed the EKU run and pushed the Colonels’ lead to 58-35.

EIU would not get any closer than 15 points the rest of the game.

Eastern Kentucky returns to action on Wednesday, Feb. 18, when it hosts league leader Morehead State. Tip time is scheduled for 7 p.m.

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