By Langdon Barnes
The Colonels won their 18 straight game at McBrayer Arena. Their 79-63 win Saturday against Southeast Missouri beat the old mark of 17 wins from the 1987-88 and 1990-91 seasons. The streak is tied for the eighth-longest active in the country.Eastern (13-6, 6-2 OVC) outscored SEMO (5-12, 2-5 OVC) 47-33 in the first half on their way to a comfortable victory.
The Colonels were led by senior forward Josh Taylor’s 19 points. Taylor was 7-of-11 from the field including 5-for-9 from behind the arc. He is averaging 14.3 points per game and has scored in double figures in 16 contests this season.
Eastern never trailed after starting the game on a 9-0 run after three straight three-pointers from Taylor and senior Papa Oppong. Oppong finished with 10 points for the Colonels.
Junior Josh Daniel came off the bench to record a career-high 16 points in only 14 minutes of play. Daniel was 6-of-7 (85.7 percent) from the field including two from behind the arc. The 6’5 guard came into the contest averaging two points over his last six games.
“As the season goes on we need a lot of guys to make a difference on this team,” said Head Coach Jeff Neubauer on the Jeff Neubauer Show.
Eastern was 30-for-54 (55.6 percent) from the field including 11-for-22 from deep. It was the third straight game in which the Colonels shot at least 50 percent from the field.
Junior Justin Stommes tallied eight points and a career-best eight assists for Eastern. Stommes is currently the Colonels leading scorer at 14.9 points per game.
Guards Dayvon Ellis and Willie Cruz came off the bench to score seven and four points respectively.
“It’s real nice to have so many weapons out there,” said Oppong. “It makes it real hard for other team to key in on one player because we have so many talented players.”
SEMO got within one a handful of times in the first half but was never able to take the lead. A three by Taylor and seven straight points by Daniel gave Eastern their first double-digit lead at 44-33 with just under 2:00 remaining.
The Redhawks climbed back within eight before another run by Daniel to stretch the lead to 19 at 67-48. The Colonels were able to go up by as many as 23 and never let SEMO back into the game on their way to the record setting victory.
Defending OVC champion Morehead State comes into town on January 23 as the Colonels try to move ahead in the OVC standings.