Fast start leads EKU past Tennessee St.

Posted at 9:35 PM, Feb 13, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-13 21:35:37-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Eastern Kentucky University’s men’s basketball team jumped out to a 29-7 lead on its way to a 93-73 victory over Tennessee State University on Saturday.

Eastern (16-5, 10-4 OVC) led wire-to-wire, but was in front by just two after a three-pointer from TSU’s Ravel Moody with 16:25 to go in the first half. Curt Lewis converted an old-fashioned three-point play at the other end to begin a 22-2 run by the Colonels. After a lay-up from Shakem Johnson got Tennessee State within six, 13-7, the Tigers went 5:22 without scoring as EKU rolled of 16 unanswered.

Eight of those 16 came at the free throw line. When Michael Moreno knocked down back-to-back three-pointers to finish off the run the visitors were up by 22, 29-7. The Colonels started 8-of-15 from the field and 10-of-10 at the free throw line.

The Tigers ended the first half by scoring seven unanswered to get within 14, and scored the first four points of the second half to stretch it to an 11-0 run. A three-pointer from Marcus Fitzgerald Jr. extended the run to 14-2 and got Tennessee State within nine, 51-42, with 18:26 remaining in the game.

Eastern Kentucky came alive, out-scoring TSU this time 17-4 over the next five minutes. Four straight points from Cheikh Faye, a jumper and two free throws, extended the margin to 22 points, 68-46, with 13:29 to play.

Faye finished with 15 points, hitting 5-of-9 from the field and 3-of-7 from deep. Wendell Green Jr. had 17 points, seven rebounds and five assists. Lewis scored 12 points and grabbed a team-high and career-best 11 rebounds while dishing out four assists. Tre King contributed 14 points.

Johnson led Tennessee State (3-16, 2-14 OVC) with 16 points and 10 rebounds. Mark Freeman finished with 14 points, nine assists and eight rebounds.

EKU shot 50 percent from the field and went 19-for-21 (90 percent) at the free throw line. TSU made 29 percent of its shots. Eastern out-rebounded the home squad by six, 40-34.

The road trip continues for the Colonels with a contest at Tennessee Tech on Monday at 9 p.m. ET.