MOREHEAD, Ky. -- A 25-footer by junior Jarrett Stokes sparked a 7-0 run and the Morehead State basketball team went on to post a 73-67 win over Norfolk State on Monday night at Johnson Arena.
The Eagles improved to 4-2 on the season with the victory, while the Spartans, who played in last year’s NCAA Tournament, slipped to 2-5 overall with their fourth consecutive setback.
“Tonight was a tough game against a quality opponent,” Associate Head Coach Dylan Howard said. “We are certainly happy with the win, but know that we have to play better in the future.”
Senior Milton Chavis led Morehead State for the sixth straight contest with 19 points on 8-of-15 from the field. He also yanked down a game-high 10 rebounds and handed out two assists.
Junior Maurice Lewis-Briggs finished with 12 points for MSU, while Stokes and senior Kahlil Owens posted 11 apiece. Lewis-Briggs (9) and Owens (7) also combined for 16 rebounds.
The lead changed hands on six consecutive possessions before Stokes drained a three from the right wing. He finished just 1-of-6 from the floor, but did connect on all eight free-throw attempts.
Morehead State, which made just 66 percent (19-of-29) from the charity stripe in the tilt, then made its last four free tosses -- two by Stokes and two by Owens -- to record the victory.
“It was certainly a back-and-forth game and we were able to make a few more plays down the stretch,” Howard said. “Give our guys credit for hanging in there and pulling out a victory.”
The game featured 16 lead changes and seven ties. The Eagles held a 32-29 advantage at halftime.
The Spartans took a lead at the 18:03 mark of the second half and extended the cushion to eight points with 8:11 to play, but the Eagles responded with a 9-0 spurt to snatch the upper hand.
Morehead State led by as many as seven in the first half, thanks to an 8-0 run over two minutes. Norfolk State cut the deficit to one, but the Eagles extended the lead back to seven moments later.
The Eagles shot 43 percent (25-of-58) from the field for the night, while the Spartans finished at 41 percent (25-of-61). MSU held NSU to just 13 percent (2-of-15) from beyond the arc.
Norfolk State junior Jamel Fuentes handed out a game-high 11 assists, while Morehead State senior Devon Atkinson dished out a team-high seven helpers with just three turnovers.
Junior Malcolm Hawkins paced the Spartans with 18 points, while three other NSU players reached double figures. Senior Rob Johnson posted a team-best nine rebounds for Norfolk State.
Morehead State managed a 37-11 advantage in bench points. The Eagles also posted 40 points in the paint, 20 off turnovers, 12 via the second chance and 17 on the fast break.
Morehead State continues non-conference action on Wednesday at Conference USA foe Marshall. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. ET. Follow in-game coverage via links on MSUEagles.com.
“Wednesday will be a big test for us because Marshall is big, athletic and talented,” Howard added. “This is a big non-conference week for us and we need to keep the momentum rolling.”