RICHMOND, Ky. – Behind 50 percent shooting from the field, including 12 three-pointers, the Eastern Kentucky University men’s basketball team opened Ohio Valley Conference play with a 74-59 victory over Tennessee Tech University on Thursday at McBrayer Arena.
Tre King led the charge for the Colonels (4-10, 1-0 OVC) with 15 points on 7-of-11 shooting. He also had two blocks and two steals. Ty Taylor hit three 3-pointers and finished with 13 points, five rebounds and two assists. Russhard Cruickshank also knocked down three 3-pointers and scored 13 points on 4-of-7 shooting.
A scorching start staked Eastern Kentucky to an early lead. EKU scored the first nine points of the game as Tech turned the ball over four times in the first two minutes. The Colonels had an 8-point advantage, 25-17, before going on a 21-6 run. King got it started with a jumper before Cruickshank hit two free throws and a 3-pointer to push the lead to 32-17.
When Taylor and Lachlan Anderson knocked down a pair of 3-pointers to stretch the lead to 40-23, the Colonels had made 15-of-23 (65 percent) attempts from the field, including 8-of-11 from 3-point range.
A steal and lay-up from Cruickshank and a jumper from King capped the run and put the home squad on top 46-23. Eastern led 49-30 at the break after shooting 56 percent for the half. The Colonels out-scored Tech 13-0 off turnovers in the first 20 minutes of play.
Tennessee Tech used a 10-3 run to draw within 10, 60-50, midway through the second half, however Eastern Kentucky came right back and out-scored the visitors 10-2 to go back in front by 18, 70-52. The Golden Eagles never challenged again.
KU made 28-of-56 field goal attempts (50 percent), including 12-of-27 (44 percent) from behind the arc. TTU hit on 36 percent for the night, and just 4-of-12 at the free throw line.
Eastern turned 16 Golden Eagle turnovers into a 21-5 edge in points off turnovers.
Darius Allen led Tennessee Tech with 16 points. Jr. Clay added 11 points and eight rebounds.
The Colonels will host Jacksonville State on Saturday at 4 p.m.