CHARLESTON, Ill. – The Eastern Kentucky University men’s basketball team completed the season sweep over host Eastern Illinois Saturday night in Lantz Arena with a 67-56 victory. The Colonels (7-9, 4-4 OVC) have now defeated the Panthers (2-15, 1-8) in eight straight meetings.
Eastern Kentucky won the game at the free throw line, netting a season-high 91.3 percent (21-of-23) including 10 free throws in the final 70 seconds to keep Eastern Illinois at bay.
Three Colonels finished in double figures, led by sophomore Adam Leonard with 16 points. Sophomore Josh Daniel came off the bench to chip in with three three-pointers for 12 points. Meanwhile, sophomore Josh Taylor added nine points and a career-high nine rebounds.
For Eastern Illinois, Bobby Catchings tallied a game-high 17 points. Jake Byrne and Julio Anthony combined for 26 points.
The Colonels jumped on top of the Panthers early, scoring 14 of the first 18 points. Leonard hit two three-pointers in that stretch while Daniel added another trifecta. Eastern Kentucky established its largest lead of the half when Daniel connected on his second three-pointer to make the score, 21-6.
However, Eastern Kentucky would only make one field goal the final eight minutes of the half allowing the Panthers to creep within eight points at intermission, 26-18.
An offensive rebound and lay-in from senior Jamaal Douglas kept Eastern Kentucky ahead by 11 points midway through the second stanza, 46-35. From there, Eastern Illinois put together a 10-2 run, capped by a Catchings three-point play, to creep within three points, 48-45. The Colonels responded with three-pointers from freshman Justin Stommes and Leonard to push the lead back to seven points, 57-50.
Eastern Kentucky then clinched the win by converting its final 10 free throws.
Eastern Illinois played the contest without Romain Martin, the OVC’s third leading scorer at 16.0 ppg. Martin sat out his third game in the last four outings due to an injured foot.
Eastern Kentucky returns home to host Jacksonville State in another OVC tilt on Thursday, Jan. 17. Game time is set for 7:30 p.m.