RICHMOND, Ky. — Three short nights after a near record-breaking margin of victory, Eastern Kentucky University’s men’s basketball team fell just short to in-state rival Western Kentucky University, 66-60, in front of 6,303 at Baptist Health Arena.
In an electric atmosphere, EKU (1-1) erased an early 8-3 deficit with a 6-0 run thanks to Michael Moreno and Tayshaun Comer's 3-point jumpers. EKU extended its run to 23-10 midway through the first half and pulled in front 26-18 before the Hilltoppers made a push of their own, closing the gap to 26-23.
The EKU lead stretched to nine as the Colonels went on a 9-3 run late in the first half to make it 35-26 with 1:04 to play before halftime. After a quick four-point burst by WKU in the final 40 seconds, EKU led 35-30 at the intermission.
Moreno led all scorers in the first half with nine points on 3-of-4 shooting from deep range
WKU (1-0) opened the second half by closing the gap to 35-34 before a Cooper Robb triple and layup, and a Devontae Blanton mid-range jumper extended EKU's lead to 42-34.
The visitors responded again, scoring nine of the next 13 points to pull within one at the under-12 media timeout.
Western took its first lead of the second half at 51-49 with 10:08 left in regulation. Comer put EKU back on top with a three as the lead switched hands four times over a three-minute span. However, WKU clamped down and grabbed a 59-55 lead with 6:20 to play and would not allow the Colonels to pull closer than three for the rest of the game.
Robb led the Colonels in scoring with 11 points, while Devontae Blanton, Moreno, Comer, and DaShawn Jackson all scored 10 points. Blanton handed out four assists. Izaiah Cozart led all rebounders with 12 on the game.
Eastern Kentucky will look to bounce back with a trip to Cincinnati, Ohio for a date against the Bearcats in Fifth Third Arena at 12 p.m. on Sunday.