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Kelly's career night powers Eagles past South Dakota

MOREHEAD, Ky. -- Senior Drew Kelly, playing in his 102nd Morehead State men's basketball game, erupted for career highs of 40 points, 12 rebounds, 14 field goals and eight three-pointers in a 120-83 win over South Dakota on Thursday evening at Johnson Arena.

"Drew certainly brought it tonight," Head Coach Sean Woods said. "We had a recent heart-to-heart about this being his last season and how we're not going to be successful if he doesn't bring it every night. Everyone is rooting for Drew, and that's why this performance was so great to see."

Kelly, who posted 18 points in the first half and 22 more after intermission, drilled 14-of-23 from the field, 8-of-12 from long distance and all four of his free-throw attempts in 28 minutes. He had recorded just 36 points in his previous seven games combined.

"Drew has played basketball all of his life," Woods said. "I just told him to go relax, have fun and do what he's capable of doing. I've known about Drew's potential for these types of big performances. He got in a rhythm early tonight, and our guards continued to feed him."

Morehead State's offensive outburst marked the Ohio Valley Conference's top performance in 2013-14. The Eagles tallied season highs for assists (32), field-goals made (44), three-pointers made (17) and three-point percentage (.531) in addition to recording 14 steals.

Kelly's effort marked the most points by an OVC player this season. He was one three-point field goal from tying the school record, as was Morehead State as a team.

The Eagles improve to 8-5 overall and 4-1 at home with the victory. MSU has now won 82 percent (64-14) of its home contests over the past six seasons. The Coyotes, who compete in the Summit League, slip to 3-8 overall and 1-6 on the road with their fifth straight loss.

"Tonight was as good of a performance as we've had in my two seasons at Morehead State," Woods said. "We got contributions from everyone who played, which was great to see. From top to bottom, we really lost ourselves in the game for the first time this season."

Sophomore Brent Arrington added 19 points for MSU, while junior Angelo Warner posted 16, senior Chad Posthumus managed 14, junior Luke Pajkovic registered 11 and junior Billy Reader had 10. Warner now owns 41 double-figure scoring efforts in 77 career tilts.

Junior Kareem Storey tied a school standard with 16 assists. The Eagles finished with just 11 turnovers and nearly a 3-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio.

Morehead State turned in a 43-32 rebounding advantage, including 16-8 on the offensive end. The Eagles have not been outrebounded in 13 contests this season. Posthumus added 10 rebounds in 23 minutes for his league-leading seventh double-double this year.

Warner tallied a career-best nine assists, while Arrington chipped in with a season-high five steals.

"Our guys fed off each other's energy tonight," Woods said. "We put together another solid rebounding performance. We also shared the ball, took care of the ball and made shots. When you have all of those things going at once, you are destined for a victory."

Morehead State jumped out to an 8-0 advantage and held the upper hand from start to finish. The Eagles pushed out to a 25-point lead late in the first half and were on top by 23 at the break. MSU's biggest lead, of 41 points, came with 1:17 to play in the second half.

Sophomore Casey Kasperbauer paced five South Dakota played in double figures with 15 points on 5-of-7 from three-point range. The Coyotes hit 45 percent (26-of-58) from the field, 43 percent (9-of-21) from long distance and 79 percent (22-of-28) from the foul line.

Morehead State drilled 55 percent (44-of-80) from the floor, including 17-of-32 from beyond the arc. Warner made 6-of-9 from the field, Posthumus went 5-of-9 and Arrington swished 7-of-13. Pajkovic added a 4-of-5 effort, including 3-of-3 from three-point land.

The Eagles continue non-conference action on Monday at Southeastern Conference opponent Tennessee. Tip-off from Thompson-Boling Arena is set for 7 p.m. ET. The contest will be televised by ESPNU, with Rich Hollenberg and Carolyn Peck calling all of the action.

"Monday will be another good opportunity for us," Woods added. "We're going up against a high-quality opponent and our program will be showcased on national television. It will be another tough road environment, but I think our young men are up for the challenge."

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