EKU MBB Comeback Falls Short in CBI Championship vs UNC Charlotte

Courtesy EKU Athletics

In the 2023 Discount Tire College Basketball Invitational (CBI) championship game, No. 8 seed Eastern Kentucky University (EKU) staged a remarkable comeback from a 20-point deficit but ultimately fell short, losing 71-68 to No. 3 seed University of North Carolina at Charlotte (UNC Charlotte).

The game-changing moment for the Colonels (23-14) came when freshman Turner Buttry’s 3-pointer at the 10:47 mark sparked a 13-0 run. Isaiah Cozart’s consecutive baskets capped the run, narrowing the gap to 58-51 with 7:23 to play.

Over the next few minutes, both teams traded baskets, with EKU’s Michael Moreno, Cooper Robb, and Buttry keeping the margin at seven points. The Colonels then went on a scoring spree, with Cozart’s free throws and Robb’s 3-pointer making it a one-point game at 69-68 with 51 seconds left in regulation.

Charlotte’s Isaiah Folkes managed to score a lay-up, pushing the lead to three points. Despite a valiant effort, EKU could not force overtime as Tayshawn Comer’s long 3-point attempt narrowly missed.

In his final game as a Colonel, Robb led the team with 17 points, hitting five 3-pointers along with three rebounds and two steals. Moreno contributed 14 points and a team-best seven rebounds, while Cozart added 10 points and four boards. Buttry finished with nine points, hitting 3-of-4 from long range.

Aly Khalifa was the top scorer for Charlotte (22-14) with 20 points. Both teams ended the game with 10 turnovers each, reflecting their NCAA rankings in turnovers forced and fewest turnovers per game.

The Colonels put up a strong performance, shooting 46 percent from the field and 40 percent (12-of-30) from 3-point range. However, UNC Charlotte’s 64 percent shooting accuracy from the field, including 10-of-22 from deep (46 percent), proved to be the difference-maker in the championship game.

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