RICHMOND, Ky. – Eastern Kentucky University’s men’s basketball team will open Ohio Valley Conference play on Thursday in the team’s first home game in over a month.
The game is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. The live radio broadcast of the game is available in the Richmond area on WCYO 100.7 FM, and can be heard worldwide on EKUSports.com. A live video broadcast of the contest is available on OVCDigitalNetwork.com.
After opening the 2012-13 season with seven straight home games, EKU (10-3) played its next six on the road. Thursday’s match-up with Eastern Illinois will be the Colonels’ first game in McBrayer Arena since beating Western Carolina 72-70 on December 1. Senior Mike DiNunno won that game for Eastern by knocking down a driving lay-up with 2.3 seconds left.
DiNunno, the team’s second leading scorer at 14 points per game, has improved his three-point shooting accuracy by 15.3 points this season. He shot 27.7 percent from deep a year ago and is knocking down 43 percent of his three-point attempts this season.
Colonel fans will get their first chance to see Orlando Williams play at McBrayer Arena on Thursday. The transfer from Miami (Ohio) made his EKU debut on Sunday at West Virginia. He hit his first two shot attempts and finished with 10 points on 4-of-9 shooting from the field.
Junior Glenn Cosey, the team’s leading scorer at 16.5 points per game, earned his fourth OVC Newcomer of the Week award on Monday. Cosey had a game-high 21 points in Eastern’s near upset of West Virginia. The Flint, Mich., native is seventh in the conference in scoring, third in assist-to-turnover ratio, seventh in three-point shooting and 12th in assists.
As a team, the Colonels are one of the top three-point shooting defense teams in the nation. After holding West Virginia to 17 percent shooting from behind the arc, Eastern Kentucky has now held nine of its 13 opponents to less than 30 percent shooting from deep. EKU is 18th in the nation in three-point shooting percentage defense (27.7 percent).
Eastern Illinois enters the game with a 3-11 record this season and having lost seven straight. The Panthers are 0-1 in OVC play.
EIU is averaging an OVC worst 56 points per game. Despite allowing foes to shoot 48 percent from the field, the Panthers are third in the league in scoring defense at 63.5 points per contest. Eastern Illinois has held six of its 14 opponents to 60 points or less.
Sophomore Josh Piper, a 6-foot-8 forward, leads the team in scoring (10.6 ppg) and is second in rebounding (4.5 rpg). Freshman Alex Austin is second on the team with 9.5 points per game. The 6-foot-4 guard was named OVC Freshman of the Week for the third time on Monday. He scored a team-high 18 points off the bench at Tennessee State on Saturday.
This will be the 34th meeting between the two programs. The Colonels own a 20-13 advantage in the series and have won 14 of the last 17 against the Panthers, including four in a row.