EKU drops final game of Australian tour

CAIRNS, Australia – Eastern Kentucky University’s men’s basketball team lost 77-75 to the Cairns Taipins in its final game of a four-game Australia summer trip.

Senior Timmy Knipp led all players with 21 points. Eric Stutz finished with 17 points. Corey Walden contributed 12 points, seven rebounds and five assists.

With the game tied 60-60 early in the fourth quarter, Cairns went on a 7-1 run to build a cushion. After a pair of free throws, the Taipans had a seven-point lead late in the quarter. However, Knipp scored five straight to get the Colonels back within two. Cairns hit two more free throws before Walden took it the length of the floor and laid it in with about four seconds remaining to keep the margin at two.

EKU fouled and the Taipans missed both free throws, but a shot for the win at the buzzer missed.

In its first three games in Australia, Eastern had committed an average of 12 fewer turnovers per game than its opponents. On Thursday, both teams finished with 18 turnovers.

Eastern Kentucky scored the first five points of the second quarter to take a 10 point lead, its largest of the game. However, later in the quarter Cairns went on 11-0 run to take a one-point lead, 32-31. The Colonels took a 44-38 lead into the locker room at the half.

The Taipans scored the final seven points of the third quarter and led 58-55 with 10 minutes left in the game.

EKU shot 43 percent from the field and 34 percent from three-point range. The Taipans hit on 45 percent of their shots but were just 3-of-19 from deep for 16 percent.

Mitch Young led Cairns with 19 points and 10 rebounds.

Cairns is a professional team playing in Australia’s National Basketball League (NBL). The Taipans finished 12-16 during the 2013-14 season that ended in March.

The Colonels have concluded their four-game trip through Australia. The team will begin a 32-hour trip back to Richmond early Saturday morning.

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