RICHMOND, Ky. – The Dan McHale era began with a bang as the Eastern Kentucky University men’s basketball team put its foot on the gas and never let off in a 107-80 season-opening win over Coppin State on Friday night at McBrayer Arena.
Senior Jarelle Reischel, a transfer from Rhode Island, led five Colonels in double figures, scoring a game-high 21 points on 7-of-10 shooting from the field and 3-of-5 shooting from beyond the arc. The native of Frankfurt, Germany also grabbed three rebounds and came up with three steals.
Junior wing JaVontae Hawkins chipped in 19 points and dished out a team-best five assists. Senior wing Ja’Mill Powell, meanwhile, poured in 18 points on 6-of-9 shooting and had five rebounds.
EKU shot an impressive 53.3 percent overall from the field (40-of-75) and dominated in the paint, outscoring Coppin State, 60-to-38. The Colonels were also unselfish, assisting on 24 of their 40 makes. EKU’s high-octane offense resulted in 26 fast break points on the night.
The EKU defense forced Coppin State into 20 turnovers, and the Colonels converted 23 points off them. Freshman Nick Mayo tallied all three of Eastern’s blocked shots.
Coppin State was led in scoring by Christian Kessee, who had 18 points.
EKU led by only 10 at halftime, 49-39; however, the Colonels used a quick 11-2 run, kick-started by a Reischel three, to push the lead to 20 points. EKU forced the Eagles into four turnovers during that stretch.
A dunk by Mayo at the 4:30 mark in the second half sparked a 9-2 run over the next 1:29 to push the Eastern led to 28, the largest of the game.
EKU never trailed in the game.
The Colonels will travel to the University of North Carolina Wilmington on Monday. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. ET.