Courtesy EKU Athletics

It took five extra minutes, but the Eastern Kentucky University men’s basketball team beat Jacksonville State University, 69-66, in overtime on Thursday for the 500th program victory at McBrayer Arena.

EKU opened McBrayer Arena on Dec. 4, 1963 with a 78-65 win over Louisville.

The lead changed hands 20 times and Thursday’s game was tied on 11 occasions.  Neither team led by more than five through 45 minutes of basketball.

Brandon Huffman gave JSU (7-3, 3-1 OVC) a 5-point advantage after hitting a pair of free throws with 4:43 left in regulation.  The Colonels (10-2, 4-1 OVC) responded by scoring seven straight.  After a charging call at the basket on Juwan Perdue with 2:53 on the clock, Curt Lewis made a 3-pointer from the left wing with 2:25 remaining to give Eastern a 57-55 lead.

Eastern Kentucky had a 62-60 edge after Wendell Green Jr. hit a lay-up with 39 ticks left.  Huffman grabbed an offensive rebound for the Gamecocks on the other end and Darian Adams knocked down a baseline jumper with 3.5 seconds remaining to send the game to overtime.

Jacksonville State scored the first four points in the extra frame and led 66-62 after free throws from Adams.  The Colonels started overtime 0-for-7 from the field before Lewis made a 3-pointer from the right corner with 2:01 on the clock to get the home squad within one, 66-65.  Another offensive foul on JSU gave Eastern the ball back and Green connected on a lay-up with 1:34 to play to put Eastern Kentucky in front by one, 67-66.

The Gamecocks had a turnover and a missed jumper on their next two possessions before sending Green to the line.  The freshman hit both with 24.7 seconds left in overtime to stretch the margin to three, 69-66.  Jacksonville State’s Demaree King missed a 3-point attempt with 17 seconds to go and sent Eastern to the free throw line with 13 ticks on the clock.  But the Colonels couldn’t convert the 1-and-1 attempt giving JSU one last shot.

Adams missed on a 3-point attempt with two seconds left and Tariq Balogun secured the rebound for Eastern Kentucky.

Tre King led Eastern with 16 points and 10 rebounds.  Green finished with 15 points and six boards.  Lewis had 13 points and eight rebounds.

EKU limited the visitors to 34 percent shooting from the field and 14 percent from long range (3-for-21).  Huffman finished with 16 points and 16 rebounds.  Perdue contributed 14 points and 10 boards.

Eastern Kentucky continues its two-game home stand on Saturday when Tennessee Tech visits McBrayer Arena.  Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m.

 www.EKUSports.com 

Steve Fohl

Assistant Athletics Director for Creative Content

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