ATHENS, Ga. – Host Georgia held off the Eastern Kentucky University men’s basketball team Friday afternoon, 64-57. The Bulldogs (11-2) have now won eight straight games while the Colonels (5-8) dropped their fourth straight contest.
Freshman Jeff Johnson almost singlehandedly kept EKU hanging around in the first half as the forward tallied 15 points. Johnson, who had not made a three-pointer in the previous three games, netted 3-of-4 (75 percent) long-range shots in the first 20 minutes.
Georgia led by as many as seven points in the early going, but a Johnson floater in the lane right before halftime cut the deficit to one point, 34-33.
The Colonels earned their first lead three minutes into the second half following an old-fashioned three-point play by senior Spencer Perrin to make the score, 39-36. The game would stay close over the next 10 minutes before a jumper from junior Jaron Jones tied the game one final time, 47-47, with 7:17 remaining.
From there, the Bulldogs scored the next six points, all from Trey Thompkins, to establish a six-point edge, 53-47. One more Johnson three-pointer helped Eastern close back to within three points, 53-50, but that would be as close as the Colonels would get the rest of the contest.
Thompkins led all players with a season-high 26 points on 11-of-16 (68.8 percent) shooting from the floor.
For EKU, Johnson finished with a career-best 18 points. Perrin added 12 points and also equaled a personal high with nine rebounds. The Colonels played most of the game without senior Justin Stommes, who suffered a right ankle sprain midway through the first half.
This was just the second ever meeting between the two teams and EKU’s first game against an SEC opponent in four years.
Eastern Kentucky continues its tour of Georgia on Sunday at Georgia Southern. Tip time is set for 2 p.m.