Colonels lead by 12 at Murray State, but can't hold off second half Racer comeback
Kelvin Robinson’s dunk gave the Eastern Kentucky University men’s basketball team a 12-point lead early in the second half, but the Colonels couldn’t stave off a Murray State University comeback and lost 97-85 on Saturday at the CFSB Center in Murray, Kentucky.
Robinson’s slam gave EKU a 55-43 lead with 18:11 left in the game. The Colonels were up 11, 57-46, when Lachlan Anderson converted a lay-up with 17:30 to go. However, the Racers rolled off 12 unanswered to take their first lead of the game, 58-57.
Six straight points off a Jomaru Brown lay-up, a Nick Mayo dunk, and a steal and lay-up from JaQuess Hobbs put Eastern back in front, 63-58. Murray State answered again, this time with eight straight and never trailed again.
Two free throws by Mayo with 2:03 showing on the clock had Eastern Kentucky within three, 88-85, but the Colonels didn’t score again.
Mayo finished with 36 points on 11-of-18 shooting from the field and 11-of-13 from the free throw line. He also had nine rebounds. Robinson had 14 points. Brown finished with 11 points, three rebounds and three steals.
Ja Morant scored 34 points on 12-of-24 shooting for the Racers (11-2, 2-0 OVC). He also had 10 assists, eight rebounds and two steals.
Eastern Kentucky scored the first seven points of the game and never trailed. Mayo knocked down a three-pointer and sank a fade-away to make it 7-0. Six straight allowed Eastern to stretch its lead to double figures for the first time. Hobbs scored four of the six at the free throw line. His two from the charity stripe with 9:57 left in the first half put the Colonels in front 24-14.
Another Mayo three-pointer made it an 11-point game, 29-18, with 8:55 remaining in the first. Murray State scored 10 of the next 12 to get within three, 31-28. However, EKU answered with seven straight for another 10-point advantage, 38-28. Mayo scored all seven, five of which came at the free throw line.
The Colonels took a 48-41 lead into the locker room at the break. Mayo hit 6-of-7 from the field and 5-of-5 at the line in the first 20 minutes of action for 20 points.
Eastern Kentucky’s stretch of four straight road games continues on Thursday when the Colonels play at Tennessee State. Tip-off is scheduled for 8:30 p.m. ET.