Mar 23, 2013 10:12 PM
After scoring the first basket of the second half to break a halftime tie, Eastern Kentucky saw Evansville use 17-6 run to take control in a 86-72 loss in the second round of the CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament.
The Colonels conclude the 2012-13 season with a 25-10 record, three more wins than the previous school best.
A basket by Glenn Cosey 13 seconds into the second half put the visitors on top 45-43, but EKU hit just three field goals over the next 11:45 as the Purple Aces (20-14) rolled off a 17-6 run. A dunk by Ryan Sawvell and a free throw from Lewis Jones capped the run and gave Evansville a 60-51 lead with 11:13 left.
A quick 5-1 Eastern run closed a 12-point deficit to eight with 5:46 to play. A free throw from Cosey closed the gap to 68-60, but the Purple Aces answered on the other end and led by double figures the rest of the way.
Cosey led the Colonels with 18 points. Senior Mike DiNunno ended his career with 14 points. Corey Walden added 12 points.
Colt Ryan had a game-high 25 points for Evansville. Troy Taylor added 16 points and seven rebounds.
Eastern Kentucky shot 50 percent from the field, but UE hit on 55 percent of its shots. The Purple Aces out-rebounded the Colonels by 21.
The first half featured a game of runs. EKU scored the first eight points and got off to a 16-5 start. The Purple Aces used a 16-5 run of their own to turn a five-point deficit into a six-point lead, 35-29, with 4:09 remaining in the opening half. The Colonels had the final run of the first stanza, ending with a 9-2 spurt to send the teams into the locker room tied 43-43.
Eastern Kentucky's victory over Gardner-Webb in the first round of the CIT was its first in a national postseason tournament in 68 years. Before that, EKU's last postseason national tournament victory came on March 17, 1945. EKU defeated Southern Illinois in the third place game of the National Association of Intercollegiate Basketball (NAIB) Tournament. The NAIB became the NAIA in 1952.
EKU sophomore forward Eric Stutz is from nearby Newburgh, Ind., and attended Castle High School.
This was Eastern's first postseason national tournament appearance since playing in the College Basketball Invitational in 2010.
The Colonels have appeared in a national postseason tournament three times under eighth-year head coach Jeff Neubauer.
Entering this game, EKU and Evansville had only committed more turnovers than their opponents in five games each this season. Each team finished with 11 turnovers today.
This was the first meeting between Eastern Kentucky and Evansville since Jan. 28, 1957, a game UE won 95-80. The Purple Aces were members of the OVC from 1948 to 1952. EKU leads the all-time series 10-5 and is now 2-5 in games played in Evansville.
Eastern Kentucky finished with the second best record in the Ohio Valley Conference.
Evansville's Colt Ryan entered the game having averaged 20.5 points in four career postseason contests. He finished with 25 today.
EKU entered the game fourth in the nation in turnover margin (-5.9) but finished even with the Purple Aces today (11-11).
The Colonels entered the game second in the nation in free throw shooting (78.5 percent), but made just 61 percent (11-of-18) on Saturday.
EKU broke the school record for wins (22) this season.