MOREHEAD, Ky—This one didn’t start the way the last two did, but it finished in similar fashion.
Morehead State men’s basketball ran away with a 66-46 win over SIU Edwardsville Tuesday night at Johnson Arena. It marked the Eagles’ ninth straight win, equaling the longest streak since the 2002-03 season.
Every Eagle that played except one scored, but Kenneth Faried was the only MSU player to tally double-digits, finishing with 23 points and 16 rebounds for his 13th double-double of the season. His 16 rebounds also pushed his average, which leads the nation, to 13.2 per game. Demonte Harper and Sam Goodman each had eight points.
MSU, which opened big lead in the first half of two games last week to cruise to a pair of wins, didn’t get hot until late in the first half. Unlike those two games it was the other bench that was hot. SIU Edwardsville started fast and turned an early one-point deficit into a six-point lead with seven straight points from a 3-pointer and two free throws by Aamir McCleary and a layup from Anthony Mitchell.
“I thought that our team for the first time in eight or nine games didn’t have the energy,” Tyndall said. “We didn’t play our best, we didn’t play with the enthusiasm and passion I would have liked to see.”
A pair of layups from Faried closed the gap and then the teams traded buckets for the next four minutes. Trailing by four with 6:56 to play in the half, Peterson drove in for a lay-up that sparked a 17-2 Eagle run that didn’t end until McCleary hit a jumper with 1:52 to play in the half. Three free throws, two by Terrance Hill and one by Brandon Shingles gave MSU a 12-point intermission advantage, their largest lead of the half.
Morehead State(13-6) pushed the lead to 18 on five straight points mid-way through the second half and took it as high as 23 on a late 3-pointer by Ty Proffitt before the Cougars hit their own triple for the final margin of 20.
It was the sixth time this season and third straight game in which the Eagles have held their opponent under 60 points. Shingles led a 12-steal effort by the Eagles with five takeaways and Faried recorded four rejections defensively. MSU pulled down 26 defensive rebounds, 12 of which came courtesy of Faried.
“Defensively we put up really big numbers,” Tyndall said.
Only McCleary finished in double-digit scoring for the Cougars and he and Mitchell shared rebounding honors with five apiece. McCleary also had five assists and three steals.
SIUE (2-16) is transitioning to NCAA Division I and has joined the OVC, but do not count as a conference opponent until 2011-12 when they complete the transition.
The Eagles travel to Richmond, Ky. To face arch-rival Eastern Kentucky Saturday at 7 p.m. at McBrayer Arena. Both teams will be defending winning streaks, the Colonels have won 19 straight at home and MSU has won nine consecutive games.
“The EKU rivalry is a rivalry that goes back years and years. Someone’s streak is going to end that night,” Tyndall said.