In a nail-biting overtime battle, the Eastern Kentucky University (EKU) men’s basketball team managed to secure a tight 89-88 victory against Indiana State University in the 2023 Discount Tire College Basketball Invitational (CBI) quarterfinals on Monday. Isaiah Cozart’s clutch free throws and subsequent block in the closing seconds of the game ensured the Colonels’ hard-fought win.
The No. 8 seed EKU (22-13) now advances to the semifinals, where they will face the winner of the game between No. 4 Southern Utah and No. 12 Rice on Tuesday at 7 p.m. ET. The match will be broadcast live on ESPN2.
Throughout the overtime period, the two teams traded baskets in a tense contest. Devontae Blanton’s three-pointer gave the Colonels an 87-85 lead with 1:13 on the clock. However, Indiana State’s Cooper Neese responded with a triple, putting the Sycamores ahead by one point, 88-87. After Tayshawn Comer’s missed jumper, Cozart grabbed the offensive rebound, drew a foul, and sank both free throws. These critical points marked the 14th tie and the 11th lead change of the game.
Cozart’s heroics continued when he blocked Neese’s shot with only five seconds remaining. Neese and Robbie Avila missed subsequent attempts, and the Colonels held on for the win.
Blanton had a standout performance, scoring a career-high 32 points while shooting 12-of-22 from the field. He also contributed eight rebounds and four assists. Cozart finished with 11 points, 10 rebounds, and three blocks, earning his second double-double in the CBI.
For the Sycamores (23-13), Courvoisier McCauley and Neese both scored 17 points.
Throughout the game, both teams demonstrated their resilience, with each side mounting multiple comebacks. EKU’s impressive shooting and ability to capitalize on Indiana State’s turnovers proved to be the difference, as they converted 18 turnovers into 16 points and eight offensive rebounds into 12 second-chance points.
The Colonels’ thrilling win sets the stage for an exciting CBI semifinal matchup on Tuesday night.