Freshman Dedric Boyd calmly sank three free throws with five seconds on the clock to lift the Eastern Kentucky University men’s basketball team to a come-from-behind 73-72 victory at Rice on Friday night in the Colonels’ season opener at Tudor Fieldhouse.
Trailing 72-70 with the clock winding down, EKU (1-0) put the ball in the hands of Boyd, who was playing in his first collegiate game. The guard from Brownsville, Tennessee got his defender in the air and drew a foul while shooting behind the three-point line. He buried all three subsequent free throws to give the Colonels their first lead of the game with five seconds remaining.
Eastern then got a stop at the other end to secure the season-opening victory on the road against a Rice team that won 23 games last year and advanced to the quarterfinals of the College Basketball Invitational (CBI).
Junior Nick Mayo led all players in the game with 25 points, while also grabbing a career-high 12 rebounds. It was his sixth-career double-double. Mayo also contributed three assists, two steals and one block.
Boyd finished with 20 points and six boards in his collegiate debut. Sophomore DeAndre Dishman added 11 points and seven rebounds in the win.
EKU shot just 38.5 (25-of-65) percent from the floor and 22 percent (6-of-27) from deep in the game; however, the Colonels did knock down 17-of-19 (90 percent) shots from the free throw line.
Connor Cashaw paced four Rice players in double figures with 18 points and 11 rebounds.
Rice (0-1) led by 11 with 2:32 remaining in the first half; however, EKU ended the half on a 6-0 run as a jumper by Boyd and four straight free throws by Mayo sent the Colonels into the locker room down by only five, 36-31.
The Owls regained the momentum in the second half, though, and snatched their largest lead, 61-48, when Ako Adams connected on a pair of foul shots with 8:12 remaining.
The Colonels responded with a 17-5 run. The spurt was ignited by a Mayo dunk at the 7:56 mark and ended when Mayo converted a layup to make it 66-65 with 3:07 on the clock.
Rice went back up by four, 70-66; however, Mayo converted four straight free throws over the next minute to tie it, 70-70, with 1:17 left in the game.
Two free throws by Rice’s Robert Martin with 24 ticks on the clock set the stage for Boyd’s late-game heroics.
It is EKU’s sixth consecutive season-opening win.
EKU returns to action at Ole Miss on Monday night. Tip in Oxford, Mississippi is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. ET.
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Associate Director of EKUSports Communications