MOREHEAD, Ky. – Morehead State men’s basketball got its first taste of outside competition for 2018-19 Thursday night at Johnson Arena, defeating Berea (Ky.) 98-47 in an exhibition matchup.
The Eagle defense was superb in the first part of the opening half, holding the Mountaineers scoreless until the 13:28 mark and forcing BC to miss its first seven field goal attempts. The Eagles built a 28-2 lead with 11:13 left in the opening stanza. MSU then outscored the visitors 50-13 in the final half.
“Our guys were so excited to come out and play,” said head coach Preston Spradlin. “You know, we came out and jumped on them early but then our defense was tested a bit late in the first half. I thought we responded well. We got to play several of our new players, and I think we got a lot of this game. We’ll go back and watch film and learn from this as we head into the regular season.”
Senior forward Lamontray Harris posted a double-double with 17 points and 13 rebounds, while junior guard Djimon Henson cashed in with 17 points. Junior guard Jordan Walker netted 12 points, and senior guard A.J. Hicks had 11 points and a team-best five assists. Sophomore forward James Baker and freshman guard Malik Riddle just missed double figures with nine each.
Berea heated up a bit, outscoring MSU 18-8 from the 11:13 point to 5:00 in the first half, which set the advantage at 36-20 for the hosts. MSU held a 48-34 cushion at the halftime break. Walker had 10 points by the intermission.
A 14-0 second-half run, over a two-minute span, ballooned the Eagle advantage up to 32 (69-37) with just more than 12 minutes remaining. The Mountaineers turned the ball over five times during the home team’s scoring flurry.
MSU eventually led by as much as 53 (98-45).
“We really weren’t looking at the score so much as working on us,’ said Spradlin. “That’s not a discredit to Berea at all because they competed well, but we want to be the most disciplined team we can be. We want to stick to our details and execute our game plans.”
Morehead State out-rebounded Berea 56-37, including 19 on the offensive glass. The Eagles also only turned the ball over 11 times and shot 49 percent (36-of-74) for the field on the night. Berea shot only 28 percent, including just 8-of-39 from inside the three-point arc.
The Eagles also outscored the Mountaineers 50-12 in the paint.
Morehead State opens the regular season on Nov. 6 hosting Kentucky Christian at 6:05 p.m. ET.