LEX 18 True Blue Coverage

Jan 18, 2014 9:40 PM

EKU Escapes With A 60-56 Win Over Jacksonville State

RICHMOND, Ky. - Junior Eric Stutz poured in a season-high 20 points to lead the Eastern Kentucky University men's basketball team to a 60-56 win over visiting Jacksonville State Saturday night. With the victory, the Colonels (12-7, 4-2 OVC) move to 10-0 all-time against the Gamecocks (9-13, 3-4) in McBrayer Arena.

Saturday's game was close throughout as the largest lead by either team was six points, and that came very early when Jacksonville State held a 9-3 advantage.

The Colonels won the game at the free throw line where the home team made 18-of-20 (90 percent) at the charity stripe in the second half. Meanwhile, the Gamecocks missed eight free throws in the final 20 minutes (11-of-19).

Eastern took the lead for good with 4:30 remaining, 48-46, thanks to a pair of Corey Walden free throws. Jacksonville State's Brian Williams missed the front end of a one-and-one opportunity on the opposite end and senior Marcus Lewis followed with a dunk to extend the cushion to four points, 50-46.

The Gamecocks closed the gap to one point with 3:08 left, but senior Glenn Cosey answered with a three from the left wing to push the advantage back up to four, 53-49. Eastern hit 7-of-8 (87.5 percent) free throws in the final two minutes, including a pair of clutch free throws by Cosey with four seconds remaining, to keep JSU at bay.

EKU won despite having one of its worst shooting nights of the season. The Colonels netted just 36.8 percent (14-of-38) of their shots from the field, marking just the third time this year Eastern finished below 40 percent.

The first half ended in a deadlock at 23-all. Senior Tarius Johnson hit a three-pointer in the final minute to level the score. Johnson was 2-of-3 from long range in the first half while the rest of the Colonels were a combined 0-for-7.

Stutz led all players with his 20 points and nine rebounds. Cosey added 17 points, 11 of which came from the free throw line.

For Jacksonville State, Williams posted 16 points and six assists. Darion Rackley came off the bench to chip in with 12 points and three steals. The Gamecocks grabbed a season-low 17 rebounds, none of which came on the offensive end.

Eastern Kentucky hits the road for a two-game swing next weekend at Tennessee State and Belmont. First up will be TSU on Thursday, Jan. 23 at 8 p.m. ET.

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