Eagles Show Defense in 61-50 Victory Over Eastern Kentucky
Morehead State men's basketball forced 25 turnovers in its 61-50 win over Eastern Kentucky on Thursday night at Johnson Arena.
Morehead State moved their record to 13-11 overall and 7-5 in OVC play. The win against the Colonels concludes a season sweep of its rival for the first time since 2011-12. EKU fell to 14-13 and 5-7 in the conference.
"You can't play defense on Eastern Kentucky any better than we did tonight. I'm so proud of our guys because they were all locked in," said head coach Sean Woods. "Our defense was relentless all night and we created extra possessions on offense. I also thought a key was the way that we dominated the backboards."
Eastern Kentucky entered tonight's contest leading the OVC in scoring with 82.0 points per game and guard Jarelle Reischel entered leading the conference with 19.0 points per game. Against the Morehead State defense, the Colonels were held to a season-low 50 points. EKU managed just 37 shots to the Eagles' 60 and Reischel was held to a season-low nine points. He also finished with seven turnovers.
The 25 turnovers by the Colonels marked a season-high and it also marked the most miscues forced by the Eagles all season. Morehead State scored 19 points off of turnovers.
"Earlier in the year, we were one of the top defenses in the country. But, I challenged our guys tonight," said Woods. "I told them that we hang our hat on defense. We can't give them (EKU) threes and we have to move our feet. And I thought our guys responded, guarding the ball one-on-one as well as they have all year."
The battle in the paint went to the Eagles in every facet. Morehead State outrebounded EKU 34-27, including 21 offensive rebounds resulting in 21 second chance points. EKU managed just three second chance points. Morehead State also outscored the Colonels 32-16 in the paint.
Senior forward Anthony Elechi responded after scoring just two points in the loss at Tennessee State. The Elmont, N.Y. native finished with a team-high 16 points and eight rebounds and his monster dunk midway through the second half extended the Eagles lead to double digits.
Junior forward DeJuan Marrero was second on the team in scoring with 13 points, shooting 6-of-8 from the floor. Freshman guard Malik Maitland came off the bench for 11 points, hitting 7-of-8 from the free throw line.
Nick Mayo led the Colonels with 15 points and Jayle Babb-Harrison added 11 points, shooting 3-of-4 from beyond the arc.
Morehead State hosts Belmont on Saturday afternoon at Johnson Arena. Tip-off is scheduled for 12 p.m. ET. The game will broadcast live on the CBS Sports Network.