RICHMOND, Ky. – The Eastern Kentucky University men’s basketball team used a 17-0 run at the end of the first half to surge past Chicago State Tuesday night in McBrayer Arena, 74-50. The Colonels (14-6) have now won an arena-record 19 straight home games.
Leading by only four, 23-19, with just under seven minutes to play in the first half, the Colonels – sparked by a pair of three-pointers each from seniors Papa Oppong and Josh Taylor – reeled off 17 unanswered points to head into the locker room ahead, 40-19. EKU shot 6-of-11 (54.5 percent) during that stretch while Chicago State missed all six shot attempts and turned the ball over four times.
The visiting Cougars (5-15) would get no closer than 17 points the rest of the night.
Junior Justin Stommes led a balanced EKU scoring attack with 16 points. Oppong and Taylor contributed with 15 points apiece thanks to shooting a combined 9-of-14 (64.3 percent) from three-point range. Taylor also finished with a career-high five assists.
Sophomore Joshua Jones keyed the Colonel scoring attack with a game-high six assists while freshman Willie Cruz came off the bench to lead EKU with six rebounds.
Christian Wall paced Chicago State with 13 points while Carl Montgomery chipped in with 10 tallies.
Stommes gave EKU a quick 5-0 lead with a back-door layup and a three-pointer. Consecutive jumpers from Montgomery and Wall, however, brought the Cougars to within one, 10-9, at the 14:49 mark.
Threes by Stommes and Oppong book-ended a 13-4 Colonel run over the next four minutes, though, as EKU rallied to take a commanding 23-13 lead with 10:29 remaining in the half.
Following a 6-0 spurt by the Cougars that got Chicago State to within four, 23-19, EKU continued to pile it on as Taylor and junior Josh Daniel drilled back-to-back three-pointers to make it 34-19 with 3:02 showing on the clock. Another pair of threes by Oppong sent EKU into the locker room at halftime up 40-19.
The Colonels return to action on Saturday night when they host conference rival Morehead State in McBrayer Arena at 7 p.m. The EKU Men’s Basketball All-Century team will be unveiled prior to the game and recognized at halftime.