BEREA, Ky. – The Eastern Kentucky University’s men’s basketball team built a 28-point first half lead on its way to an 88-70 victory over Jacksonville State University, a team that entered the game having won seven straight overall and with a perfect 6-0 record in Ohio Valley Conference play.
Nick Mayo led Eastern Kentucky (10-10, 3-4 OVC) with a game-best 22 points. Tre King finished with 11 points and a game-high 12 rebounds. Kelvin Robinson totaled 17 points, seven boards and five assists.
Jacksonville State (14-6, 6-1 OVC) scored the first seven points of the game, but once EKU righted the ship, momentum swung the other way and the Colonels raced out to a big first half lead.
Mayo got Eastern on the board with a three-pointer, a free throw and a jumper to make it 9-6. Lachlan Anderson’s three-pointer from the right wing tied the score for the first time, 11-11. Neither team scored for more than two minutes until Jamall Gregory connected on a basket to give the Gamecocks a 13-11 advantage.
From there EKU scored 13 unanswered to fuel a 32-4 run. Robinson nearly single-handedly got the run started, scoring eight of the first 13. His second old-fashioned three-point play made it 24-13. A three-pointer from Mayo made it a 20-point game, 37-17. His baseline jumper with 4:41 left in the first half capped the run and had the Colonels on top by 26, 43-17.
Cameron Carmical’s three-pointer with 35 seconds on the clock in the first half pushed the margin to 28, 53-25.
Eastern Kentucky shot 53 percent from the field in the first half and hit on 7-of-16 (44 percent) of its shots from behind the arc. EKU turned the ball over just six times, while forcing JSU into 15 turnovers. The Colonels had a 16-4 edge in points off turnovers.
Jacksonville State staged a furious rally to start the second half, scoring 21 of the first 25 points, including a run of 15 straight. Jason Burnell capped both runs with a three-pointer to get the Gamecocks within single digits, 57-48, with 14:36 to go in the game.
The Colonels answered. Carmical’s old-fashioned three-point play put an end to the JSU run. Jomaru Brown hit a three-pointer. The six unanswered began a 13-3 run that put the game away. Dujuanta Weaver finished it off with a three-pointer for a 70-51 EKU lead with 10:22 remaining to play.
Jacksonville State never got closer than 13 the rest of the game.
EKU shot 49 percent from the field for the game and 41 percent from long range. Eastern out-rebounded JSU 41-40 and forced 20 turnovers.
Gregory led the Gamecocks with 15 points. Burnell had nine points and 11 rebounds.
The Colonels will face Tennessee Tech on Saturday at Georgetown College’s Davis-Reid Alumni Gym. The game is scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m.