EKU coasts to season opening victory

Michael Moreno-01 (2022_11-07 vs Middletown by Steve Fohl).jpg
Posted at 11:07 PM, Nov 07, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-07 23:52:53-05

RICHMOND, Ky. — On opening night for NCAA Division I college basketball, Eastern Kentucky defeated Miami (Ohio)-Middletown 137-52.

The Colonels will host in-state rival Western Kentucky on Thursday at 7 p.m.

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EKU started off strong and did not relent. Cooper Robb and John Ukomadu excited the crowd with two early breakaway dunks, and the Colonels led 17-4 after the under 12 timeout.

The lead ballooned to 34-13 with 7:15 left in the first when Robb converted a transition lay-up off one of Middletown's 35 turnovers.

Eastern showed full court pressure all first half and kept the pedal to the medal with a balanced scoring attack throughout the first.

At the break, the Colonels led comfortably at 59-31 and ended the first with an emphatic 15-4 run including three 3-point jumpers, two Izaiah Cozart slams, and a Robb layup. EKU forced 18 turnovers on the ThunderHawks in the opening 20 minutes.

Eastern Kentucky opened the second half on a 30-4 run in just under eight minutes.

The Colonels would reach the century mark with 8:44 left courtesy of Turner Buttry's two free throws.

This was nearly a record-breaking game for the Colonels. EKU was one point away from matching the all-time record for margin of victory (86) and tied for the assist record (34).

Seven Colonels scored in double figures. Eastern shot 50-for-85 (58.8 percent) from the floor and 19-of-40 (47.5 percent) from 3-point territory. EKU totaled 24 steals, four short of the single game record.

Buttry co-led all scorers with 19 points on 6-of-10 shooting from the floor and 4-of-8 from deep. John Ukomadu contributed 19 and a handful of breakaway dunks, while forward Michael Moreno poured in 18 (4-of-7 from 3-point range) in the game.

Lorenzo Sparks led Miami with 18 points on 4-12 from the floor.

The Colonels out-rebounded the visitors 53-30 and scored 55 fast break points.