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Eastern Kentucky wins battle of mid-major top-25 teams at IPFW

FORT WAYNE, Ind. – Eastern Kentucky University’s men’s basketball team beat Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne (IPFW), 90-68, on Sunday in a battle of mid-major top 25 teams.

The Colonels (9-4) entered the game ranked 22nd in the CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Top 25. The Mastodons (10-5) were one spot behind at 23rd.

Eastern Kentucky trailed by as many as nine twice early in the game but used a 21-4 first half run to take control of the game. The Colonels took an 11-point lead, 46-35, into the locker room at the break and then out-scored the Mastodons 8-3 to start the second half to go in front by 16. Eastern took its largest lead, 26 points, on a three-pointer by Marcus Lewis with 4:46 left in the game.

Lewis scored a game-best 17 points for Eastern. Eric Stutz had 16 points on 8-of-10 shooting and nine rebounds. Corey Walden hit three second half three-pointers and finished with 11 points.

The Colonels shot 59 percent from the field and 52 percent (11-for-21) from three-point range. EKU out-rebounded the Mastodons 32-26 and committed seven fewer turnovers.

IPFW jumped out to an early 10-1 lead and still led by nine, 22-13, after a pair of free throws by Steve Forbes with 11:31 left in the first half. However, the Colonels erased the deficit by scoring 11 straight to key the 21-4 run. Orlando Williams hit two 3-pointers and Stutz and Jeff Johnson each scored a pair of baskets in the paint during the run. Williams’ second trey capped it and put EKU in front 34-26 with 5:05 on the clock.

Walden’s basket at the buzzer sent the visitors to the locker room in front 46-35. Eastern shot 61 percent in the first half.

Stutz scored four of EKU’s first eight points of the second half. A lay-up by Tarius Johnson capped the spurt and gave the Colonels a 54-38 lead with 15:50 left to play. IPFW got as close as 13 twice before a Walden three-pointer and a basket from Deverin Muff pushed the margin to 20-plus for the first time, 71-50, with 8:39 remaining. Back-to-back three-pointers from Lewis gave Eastern Kentucky its largest lead, 82-56, with less than five minutes on the clock.

Mo Evans had a team-best 13 points for IPFW. Joe Edwards added 12 points. The Mastodons shot 44 percent for the game.

The Colonels begin Ohio Valley Conference play on Thursday at Eastern Illinois University. Tip-off in Charleston is scheduled for 8 p.m. ET.

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