RICHMOND, Ky. – A goaltending call on Michael Moreno’s jumper, and his ensuing free throw, with three seconds left in the game broke a 68-68 tie and sent the Eastern Kentucky University men’s basketball team to a 71-68 victory over Morehead State University on Monday at McBrayer Arena.
The Colonels (4-1, 1-0 OVC) overcame a 16-point halftime deficit.
EKU was down 13, 57-44, after Johni Broome’s tip-in for Morehead State with 11:11 remaining. Eastern still trailed by 10, 63-53, after a lay-up by Broome with 8:10 showing on the clock. The Colonels then went on a 15-3 run with five different players scoring.
A jumper by Tre King and a 3-pointer from the right corner by Moreno got the run started and immediately drew the home team within five. Russhard Cruickshank’s 3-pointer from the left wing got Eastern within two, 65-63. With 2:39left in the game, Wendell Green Jr. came up with a steal and a reverse lay-up to put EKU in front by one, 67-66. King capped the run with a free throw at the 1:47 mark, making it a 2-point advantage, 68-66.
Broome tied it on a jumper with 32 seconds remaining. Eastern allowed the game clock to tick down to 5.3 seconds and then called a time out. Moreno took the inbounds pass, drove the right side of the lane and put up a jumper from the block. The Eagles were called for goaltending and Skyelar Potter committed the foul. Moreno made the free throw with three seconds to play.
King intercepted a long inbound pass to end the game.
The Colonels will host Transylvania University at 4 p.m. on Saturday.
Moreno finished with a career-best 29 points on 10-of-16 shooting from the field. He made 6-of-12 from 3-point range. King added 13 points and nine rebounds. Green contributed nine points, six assists and four steals.
Broome was one of two Eagles to score 13 points. KJ Hunt Jr. added 13 as well.
After shooting 31 percent in the first half, Eastern Kentucky made 53 percent of its shots in the second half. The Colonels turned 27 Morehead State turnovers into 28 points.
Moreno staked Eastern to an early 9-0 lead when he knocked down three 3-pointers in the first three minutes of the game. The Eagles started 0-for-4 from the field and didn’t score until the 15:58 mark.
Potter’s 3-pointer got Morehead State on the board and began a 10-1 run that tied the game. MSU took its first lead, 13-12, on a 3-pointer by Hunt.
A lay-up from Cooper Robb with 8:41 remaining in the first half put Eastern in front 22-19, but the Colonels didn’t score again for more than five minutes. A triple from the top of the key from Green with 3:28 to play in the first stanza snapped an 18-0 run by Morehead State and cut the deficit to 12, 37-25.
The Eagles took a 44-28 advantage into the locker room at the break. MSU shot 75 percent from the field in the first half, going 18-for-20 after missing on its first four attempts.
Moreno scored 18 points in the first half to tie his career-best, which he set just last week at USC Upstate.