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EKU falls at Belmont, 92-74

Junior newcomer Cheikh Faye came off the bench to hit four three-pointers and score 12 points to lead the Colonels
Junior newcomer Cheikh Faye came off the bench to hit four three-pointers and score 12 points...
Junior newcomer Cheikh Faye came off the bench to hit four three-pointers and score 12 points to lead the Colonels(EKU Athletics)
Published: Feb. 11, 2021 at 11:48 PM EST
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Eastern Kentucky University’s men’s basketball team lost at Belmont University, 92-74, on Thursday in Nashville.

Junior newcomer Cheikh Faye came off the bench to hit four three-pointers and score 12 points to lead the Colonels (15-5, 9-4 OVC).  Russhard Cruickshank added 11 points off the bench.  Tariq Balogun scored eight points and grabbed a team-best eight rebounds.

EKU fell behind by 10 in the first four minutes of the game, but righted the ship briefly.  A lay-up from JaCobi Wood gave Belmont a 15-5 lead with 16:14 on the clock.  The Colonels scored the next eight points however.  A pair of three-pointers from Faye cut the deficit to four.  JacQuess Hobbs hit two free throws to finish off the spurt and make it a two-point game, 15-13.

After a lay-up from Tre King with 11:58 to go in the first half made it a four-point game, 23-19, the Bruins scored 16 unanswered and EKU never recovered.  Ben Sheppard started the run with a three-pointer and Caleb Hollander ended it with a triple, putting Belmont ahead by 20, 39-19.

A lay-up from Balogun with 7:29 left in the first ended a four minute and 29 second scoring drought for the Colonels.  Another lay-up from Balogun cut the margin to 16, 44-28, but the Bruins scored the next six to move in front by 22, 50-28.  The home squad led 50-32 at the break.

Belmont shot 58 percent from the field in the first half, including 8-of-15 from three-point range (53 percent).  Eastern Kentucky made just 38 percent of its shots and was 4-for-11 from deep.

Wendell Green Jr. connected on a three-pointer to start the second half and close the gap to 15, 50-35.  A 7-0 run later in the half got the visitors withing 12, 61-49, but EKU never got any closer.

Sheppard made 10-of-16 from the field, including 5-of-9 from three-point range, to lead Belmont with 25 points.  He also had a game-best 10 rebounds.  Hollander hit three 3-pointers and finished with 14 points.

The Bruins (21-1, 15-0 OVC) shot 53 percent for the game from the field and hit on 12-of-28 from behind the arc for 43 percent.  EKU made 42 percent of its shots from the field and from deep (11-of-26).

The Colonels will conclude their trip to Nashville on Saturday at Tennessee State.  Tip-off is scheduled for 5 p.m. ET.