CHARLESTON, Ill. — Sophomore Michael Moreno’s three-pointer with three seconds remaining in regulation sent the game into overtime, and the Eastern Kentucky University men’s basketball team held on to beat host Eastern Illinois, 93-85, on Saturday at Lantz Arena.
It is EKU’s seventh consecutive win, and it makes the Colonels 12-2 (6-1 OVC) on the year. That is Eastern Kentucky’s best start since 1946-47.
EKU led, 69-66, following a three-pointer from the corner by junior Cooper Robb with 2:58 to play in regulation. However, Eastern Illinois followed that up with a 6-0 run and went ahead by three, 72-69, after a layup by Sammy Friday IV with 1:49 on the clock.
A dunk by Barlow Alleruzzo IV with 13 seconds left made it 74-71 in favor of the Panthers.
On EKU’s ensuing possession, Robb found Moreno on the wing and he buried the triple to tie the game and force overtime.
The Colonels connected on four of their first six shots in overtime, including three-pointers from Moreno, freshmen Wendell Green Jr. and redshirt freshman Curt Lewis. Lewis’ trifecta made it 88-83 in favor of the Colonels with under two minutes to play. EIU never got closer than three points the rest of the way.
Junior Tre King led all players with 24 points in the game, despite fouling out just over a minute into overtime. He added six rebounds, two assists, two steals and two blocks.
All five starters reached double figures for the Colonels. Lewis finished with 18 points and six boards. Green Jr. had 17 points and six assists. Robb tallied 11 points, seven rebounds, two assists and two steals, while Moreno collected 10 points, seven boards and three steals.
EKU shot a season-best 52 percent (12-of-23) from three-point range in the win. The Colonels stifled the Panthers to only 21 percent (6-of-28) shooting from deep.
EKU out-rebounded EIU, 46-44, and won the turnover battle, 18-16.
The back-and-forth game featured 12 ties and 11 lead changes.
The Colonels return home to host UT Martin (Jan. 21) and Southeast Missouri (Jan. 23) next week.