BY: TYLER PHILLIPS
Out of all Division 1 teams in Kentucky, Eastern now holds the best record.
Eastern won in its fifth straight game on Feb. 16 against Jacksonville State, 80-67, pushing its record to 21-6 (10-3 OVC). The 21 wins are a school record for regular season wins.
The Gamecocks came ready to play Saturday night, led by their forward Tarvin Gaines who scored 14 first-half points.
But Gaines’ scoring stopped when Eastern’s sophomore guard, Corey Walden was assigned the job to guard him.
Even though Gaines had four inches in height on Walden, Walden didn’t allow him to score a point until four minutes left in the game.
“Corey Walden is by far our best defender,” coach Jeff Neubauer said. “Corey is the one who gets it done for us consistently, and tonight was no different.”
With five players scoring in double figures, Eastern played one of its best offensively balanced games of the season.
Senior point guard Mike DiNunno got into foul trouble in the first half of the game so junior Glenn Cosey had to take over the job of primary ball handler.
Cosey scored 21 points and Walden scored 19 after playing all 40 minutes.
After a 19 point lead dwindled down to four and with only a minute and half remaining, Cosey received a pass right in front of the Colonel bench from Walden and hit a huge 3-pointer to push the lead back to seven and put away the Gamecocks for good.
Aside from the big win, Saturday night’s game was also senior night.
Seniors Willie Cruz and Mike DiNunno were honored before the game for their contributions to the Eastern basketball team.
Walden, Cosey and Tarius Johnson all called Willie Cruz a father figure to them and said he looks out for them whenever they do something wrong.
Walden mentioned that Cruz helps them out even though he isn’t able to play because of a season-ending injury.
“Mike did get the win that he wanted, and that’s what we were after,” Neubauer said.
As time was running out, Mike stood on the Colonel as his family from Chicago watched him play his second to last game at McBrayer Arena.
As the Colonels near the end of their season, they will play Feb. 23 in the 2013 ESPN Ramada Worldwide BracketBusters against Valparaiso University.