MOREHEAD, Ky. -- The Morehead State men’s basketball team used a 20-5 run early in the second half to post a 71-54 exhibition victory over St. Catharine (Ky.) on Saturday night at Johnson Arena.
The Eagles used 12 players in their only contest before the regular season. Ten individuals cracked the scoring column, while 10 players pulled down a rebound and eight individuals recorded an assist.
“We won the game and did some nice things, but we still have a long ways to go,” Head Coach Sean Woods said. “Our execution is not there yet and our rotations defensively need to be sharper.”
Senior Jason Holmes led Morehead State with 13 points on 6-of-8 from the field, while junior Chad Posthumus yanked down a team-best nine rebounds in just 13 minutes.
Senior Devon Atkinson added team highs of seven assists and four steals for the Eagles in just 20 minutes, while senior Milton Chavis blocked a team-best four shots.
Chavis and junior Drew Kelly, both returnees from a year ago, also chipped in with 11 points apiece.
“Jason did some nice things on the floor tonight,” Woods said. “I also thought Devon played exceptionally well. He brought some energy and enthusiasm off the bench for us.”
St. Catharine trimmed its deficit to 33-32 with 17:05 remaining, but Morehead State allowed just three points over the next 4:45 en route to a 16-point advantage.
MSU pushed its lead to a game-high 20 points, at 67-47, with 1:52 to play.
The Eagles registered advantages of 36-22 off the bench and 42-24 in the paint. MSU was also +7 in the turnover department, committing just 11 miscues while forcing 18.
Morehead State connected on 49 percent (26-of-53) overall, including 62 percent (24-of-39) inside the arc. The Eagles also handed out 17 assists and recorded 12 steals.
“We played fast tonight and took care of the ball,” Woods said.
St. Catharine senior DeShawn Mitchell led all scorers in the contest with 16 points, while freshman Terrance Smotherman collected a game-high 12 rebounds for the Patriots.
One senior (Holmes), three juniors (Posthumus, Taariq Muhammad and Bakari Turner) and three freshmen (Jarrett Stokes, Jourdan Stickler and Cordell James) were making their MSU debuts.
Morehead State opens its regular season on Friday against 2012 NCAA Tournament participant LIU Brooklyn. Tip-off is set for 5:45 p.m. ET and the contest will be webcast live on ESPN3.com.
The tilt is part of the Barclays Center Classic and will take place at the new home of the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets. It will be followed by defending national champion Kentucky vs. Maryland.
“We need to tighten up defensively in practice this week,” Woods added. “We have to come up with the 50-50 balls. We have to outwork people every second and every minute of every game.”