EKU picks up 20th win, knocks off UT Martin 84-60

RICHMOND, Ky. – The Eastern Kentucky University men’s basketball team picked up its 20th win of the season Thursday night behind a convincing 84-60 triumph over visiting UT Martin. The Colonels (20-10, 11-6 OVC) shot 53.1 percent from the floor, including 59.4 percent in the second half.

Sophomore Joshua Jones paced EKU in scoring for the first time this season. The guard finished with 14 points thanks to netting 6-of-9 (66.7 percent) field goal attempts. Junior Justin Stommes (12 points), senior Robin Mestdagh (12) and junior Josh Daniel (11) also posted double-figure points. Mestdagh’s 12 points were a season-high as the senior converted 4-of-5 (80 percent) three-point attempts.

UT Martin’s (4-24, 1-16) Benzor Simmons led all players with 25 points behind hitting a career-high five three-pointers. Meanwhile, Ron Spencer chipped in with a double-double (12 points, 11 rebounds).

The Skyhawks opened the game by making 7-of-10 shots to build a 17-8 lead. MJ Brown capped the start with a traditional three-point play at the 13:10 mark.

From there, the Colonels responded with 11 consecutive points to take their first lead of the game, 19-17. Three different EKU players – senior Dayvon Ellis, senior Josh Taylor and Jones – all made three-pointers during the run.

Eastern Kentucky eventually took a 39-24 lead into intermission as UT Martin missed all six field goal attempts and turned the ball over eight times in the final nine minutes of the half.

Mestdagh’s first trifecta with 12:21 left gave EKU its first 20-point lead, 52-31. The Skyhawks would only get as close as 19 points the rest of the way.

With the win, EKU set a new program single-season record for home victories (15-1). The Colonels had previously tallied 14 home wins in the 1990-91 (14-0) and 1978-79 (14-1) seasons.

Eastern Kentucky concludes the regular season on Saturday, Feb. 27 with a home game against OVC regular season champion Murray State. Game time is set for 7 p.m.

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