RICHMOND, Ky. – Pressure defense and three-point shooting has been Eastern Kentucky University’s way to win, and that is how the Colonels beat Tennessee State University Saturday night in Nashville, 69-41. Eastern Kentucky has won a season-best five straight games.
EKU (16-9, 8-4 OVC) limited Tennessee State (5-22, 2-10 OVC) to just 13-of-41 shooting for the game (31.7 percent) and 1-of-11 from three-point range (9.1 percent).
Eastern forced the Tigers into 19 turnovers and limited Tennessee State’s best offensive player Marcus Roper to just two points.
EKU seniors Corey Walden, Timmy Knipp and Eric Stutz came away with the majority of the Colonels’ points. The three seniors combined for 40 of 69 points.
The Colonels finished 9-of-24 from three-point range, good for 38 percent. Knipp made four of those nine.
Eastern Kentucky led by seven at the half, but multiple runs in the second half put the game away for good. In the final 12 minutes of the game, the Colonels went on a 34-5 run.
EKU limited Tennessee State to just 27 percent shooting in the second half on their way to building a lead as much as 28 at the final buzzer. Eastern never trailed during the contest and was the largest win of the year in conference play.
With the win, EKU stays in first place in the OVC East Division. The Colonels are a half game ahead of Belmont with four games to play in the regular season.
The Colonels will be back in action Tuesday against Austin Peay in McBrayer Arena. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m.
Corey Walden began the day as the only player in the OVC ranked in the top-10 in scoring (2nd), field goal percentage (8th), assists (6th) and steals (1st). He finished with 13 points on 5-of-9 shooting, four assists and three steals.
The Colonels have shot 50 percent or better in each of their past four games.
Tennessee State entered the game last in the OVC in scoring at 58.4 points per game.
Tennessee State leads the OVC in three-point shooting defense (31.8 percent), but the Colonels made 40 percent (10-of-25) from deep the first time they played and 38 percent (9-of-24) against the Tigers tonight.
Corey Walden now needs 12 more steals to break the EKU career record of 221 held by Jamie Ross (1988-92).
When these two teams met last Saturday, TSU’s Marcus Roper hit seven 3-pointers and scored 32 points. This time around, the Colonels’ pressure defense limited Roper to two points on just 1-of-6 shooting and 0-of-4 from three.
Eastern Kentucky entered the game second in the nation in turnover margin (+7.9) and fifth in steals (9.9 spg). The Colonels had seven fewer turnovers and six steals.
EKU leads the all-time series 32-25. The Colonels have won 10 of the past 13 meetings.