BY: TYLER PHILLIPS
After a foul-filled game, Eastern pulled off a hard-fought win against Tennessee Tech 80-69.
The score rocked back and forth all game and tempers flared but Eastern (20-6, 9-3 OVC) reached 20 wins for the eighth time in program history and the third under Jeff Neubauer.
Senior point guard Mike DiNunno led Eastern in scoring with 21 points after hitting 8 of 13 shots.
Glenn Cosey and Eric Stutz both chipped in significantly with Cosey scoring 17 points and Stutz getting 14 points and seven rebounds.
Toward the end of the game, DiNunno and Tennessee Tech’s (9-15, 3-8 OVC) point guard, Jeremia Samarrippas both drew technical fouls after Samarrippas fouled DiNunno hard underneath the basket.
“I was really just trying to get another foul on him,” DiNunno said. “Towards the end of the game I knew he was in foul trouble and he was doing a good job of setting up his teammates so I was just trying to get him out of the game. But you’re not going to come in here and try to punk me in front of my home crowd.”
Eastern trailed at the half, 33-30, But scored 50 second-half points behind almost 60 percent shooting in the second half to pull out the win and secure a spot in the OVC tournament for the eleventh straight season.
“I could tell they weren’t going to go away easy,” DiNunno said. “There was no glaring reason why we were down [at halftime]. But we got everyone involved, especially our bigs.”
Toward the end of the game, DiNunno hit a huge 3-pointer to extend the Colonels lead, and came over to press row to made sure that everyone knew the Colonels were not going to lose.
“At that point in the game they were kind of faltering, and I think that kind of stuff gets in the heads of the other players,” DiNunno said. “That’s just who I am on the court. I know a lot of people, fans and players in this conference don’t like it but oh well.”
By the end of the game DiNunno pulled up from about three feet beyond the 3-point line and drained a 3-pointer, letting everyone else know the Colonels were taking home the win.