BY: MATTHEW CRUMP
The first non-OVC game in nine games for Eastern’s men’s basketball team had a rough start with a winning end result over the Southeast Missouri State University Redhawks 81-72 on Feb. 2.
The game started poorly for the Colonels. The Redhawks dominated the first half by shooting 60 percent and out-rebounding Eastern by seven. The half ended with the teams close, but Southeast Missouri had the narrow lead 40-38.
During the second half, the Colonel defense finally came out to play. After Eastern took the lead in the second half, the Redhawks managed to cut the lead to one on a seven-point run. Eastern countered with an 11-2 run of its own to regain the lead, which the team kept for the rest of the game.
Southeast Missouri managed to get within five points of the Colonels with less than a minute left in the game, but four straight free throws for Eastern pushed the Colonels ahead; the Redhawks couldn’t catch up.
Eastern’s defense had a severe impact on Southeast Missouri’s shooting percentage. The Redhawks ended the game a with weaker second half at 36 percent.
Sophomore Eric Stutz had 12 points, a team-high 11 rebounds and a team-high seven blocks, which gave him his first career double-double.
Eastern’s overall shooting game outclassed the Redhawks’. The Colonels shot 53 percent overall and 47 percent at the 3-point arc. Southeast Missouri shot 47 percent overall and only 25 percent from 3-point range.
Despite efforts from Stutz, the Redhawks still had two more rebounds than Eastern. Eastern had 29, and Southeast Missouri had 31.
Junior Glenn Cosey continued his impressive performance by scoring a team-high 21 points and contributing four assists. He went nine for 10 on free throws and had four 3-pointers.
Eastern had two other standout performances. Senior Mike DiNunno scored 18 points and had three assists. Junior Marcus Lewis had ten points and a dunk off an alley-oop, which made it onto SportsCenter’s top 10 plays of the day.