RICHMOND, Ky. – The Eastern Kentucky University men’s basketball team led from start to finish in an 84-73 victory over North Carolina A&T Wednesday evening in McBrayer Arena. Senior Marcus Lewis paced the Colonels with a career-best 20 points.
EKU (8-4) has now won 21 consecutive home non-conference games, equaling a program record set back in 1980.
The Colonels scored the first seven points and never looked back against North Carolina A&T (3-8). Eastern quickly built a 20-point cushion, 34-14, following junior Corey Walden’s layup. EKU shot a blistering 63 percent (17-of-27) in the first 20 minutes, its best shooting half against a Division I opponent this season, to take a commanding lead into intermission, 44-26.
North Carolina A&T would not go away, though, as the Aggies slowly climbed back into the contest. The visitors cut the deficit to just eight points on several occasions in the final four minutes, but Lewis would seal the win with a three-pointer from the wing with 1:13 remaining to make the score, 83-72.
Lewis hit 7-of-12 (58.3 percent) shots from the floor, including a trio of three-pointers. The guard also added a personal-high five assists. Fellow senior Glenn Cosey chipped in with 19 tallies while Walden finished with 10 points. Eight Colonels netted a three-pointer in the win, the most in a game this season.
Eastern forced 19 A&T turnovers which led to 26 points. On the flip side, the Colonels turned the ball over just nine times.
North Carolina A&T’s Bruce Beckford and Lamont Middleton led the Aggie rally with 21 points apiece. The duo combined for 36 points in the second half.
The two teams also met last season with the Aggies picking up a 78-67 win and later advancing to the NCAA tournament.
The Colonels will now take a week off from game action to enjoy the holidays before returning to action at IPFW on Sunday, Dec. 29.
With the win, the Colonels tied the program record with their 21st straight home non-conference victory. Eastern also won 21 straight between the 1977-78 and 1980-81 seasons.
Eastern Kentucky entered the week third in the nation in turnover margin (+7.2). The Colonels were +10 against North Carolina A&T.
The Colonels entered the week second in the nation with 118 steals. The team finished with seven against North Carolina A&T.
EKU had allowed its previous three opponents to shoot a combined 50 percent from three-point range. North Carolina A&T went 3-for-15 (20 percent) from behind the arc on Wednesday.
Eastern Kentucky improved to 5-0 this season, and 41-6 under head coach Jeff Neubauer, when scoring 80 or more points.
Eastern entered the game having out-scored their opponents by 149 points off turnovers this season. The Colonels out-scored the Aggies by 15 off turnovers on Wednesday.
Marcus Lewis tied his career-high with three 3-pointers.