EVANSVILLE, Ind. – Freshman Wendell Green Jr. poured in a game-high 29 points, but the No. 3 seed Eastern Kentucky University men’s basketball team fell to No. 2 Morehead State, 67-64, in the semifinals of the Ohio Valley Conference Tournament on Friday night at the Ford Center.
Morehead State (22-7) appeared to be pulling away midway through the second half. The Eagles took an 11-point lead, 49-38, when Johni Broome sank a pair of free throws with 10:30 remaining in the game.
However, EKU (22-7) responded with a 13-2 run and tied the game, 51-51, on a driving layup by Green Jr. with 5:40on the clock.
The Colonels grabbed their first lead of the second half one minute later when redshirt freshman Curt Lewis converted two free throws to make it 54-53.
The two teams traded clutch buckets over the final four minutes of the game.
After Morehead State pulled back ahead by three, a triple by sophomore Michael Moreno tied it up, 59-59, with 1:37 left.
The Eagles took a four-point lead, 63-59, with 29 seconds left, but Lewis buried a three-pointer from the corner on the Colonels’ ensuing possession to make it a one-point game.
Following two free throws by Morehead State’s Devon Cooper, Lewis grabbed an offensive rebound and converted the put-back to make it 65-64 with four seconds remaining.
Cooper sank two more free throws to push the Eagles’ lead back out to three, and a desperation three-pointer by Green Jr. at the buzzer missed.
Moreno finished with 14 points and eight rebounds in the loss. Lewis contributed 11 points. Junior Cooper Robb came up with six steals on the night.
Eastern won the turnover battle, 19-9, but only converted those turnovers into 12 points.
The Colonels shot 5-of-12 (42 percent) from the free throw line in the game.
Cooper tallied a team-best 25 points for Morehead State, to go along with six rebounds and four assists.