MURRAY, Ky. – In a battle of undefeated Ohio Valley Conference teams, Eastern Kentucky University led by as many as 22 points in the second half of a 77-65 win at Murray State University on Wednesday night.
Mike DiNunno and Corey Walden each finished with 20 points for the Colonels (13-3, 3-0 OVC). Tarius Johnson added an EKU career-best 17 points to go along with seven rebounds.
Eastern Kentucky held the Racers (11-4, 2-1 OVC) scoreless for the first six minutes of the game, but after taking a 7-0 lead MSU rolled off 11 unanswered.
The Colonels answered with a run of their own, scoring 24 straight points to take control of the game. DiNunno scored nine during the run, including seven straight at one point.
With 6:25 left in the first half, Murray State’s Dexter Fields fouled Walden on a shot attempt and then was whistled for a technical foul. The sophomore went to the line and hit all four free throws to cap the run and put Eastern in front 31-11.
The Racers closed the gap to 14 at halftime and got within eight four and a half minutes into the second half. EKU scored 12 of the next 14 to push its lead to 18. Walden scored seven of the 12 including three on a basket and a free throw. Jeff Johnson’s lay-up made it 53-35 with 12:08 remaining to play.
Five straight by Orlando Williams gave the Colonels their largest lead. The junior’s three-pointer with 7:42 to go gave the visitors a 65-43 advantage.
Murray State made one more run. The Racers knocked down five three-pointers during a 19-2 run that got the home team within five. Jeffery Moss’s triple closed it to 67-62 with 3:33 showing on the clock.
The Colonels stymied the run with four straight, two free throws by Walden and a lay-up from Tarius Johnson to push back in front by nine, 71-62. MSU never got closer than eight the rest of the way.
All-American Isaiah Canaan led Murray State with 24 points. He had six assists but turned it over seven times. Stacy Wilson added 16 points. Ed Daniel, who entered the game averaging 15 points and an OVC-best 11 rebounds, finished with four points and six boards.
Eastern Kentucky shot 51 percent from the field and 93 percent (13-for-14) from the free throw line. The Colonels battled to a 29-29 rebounding tie and committed six fewer turnovers. EKU held a 29-9 advantage in points off turnovers.
The Racers shot 43 percent from the field and made 11-of-29 from behind the arc (38 percent).
The Colonels will return home to host rival Morehead State on Saturday. Tip-off at McBrayer Arena is scheduled for 7 p.m.