The Eastern Kentucky University men’s basketball team fell to the No. 2 ranked Kentucky Wildcats, 91-49, at Rupp Arena Friday night, in front of a crowd of 20,163.
Both teams started the game with a 1-0 record; the Colonels defeated UT Chattanooga, 79-68, and the Wildcats beat Michigan State, 69-62.
Kentucky started the game off strong going on a 14-0 point run.
“We started the game and we were in shock, you know we were just shocked… We didn’t respond, we did not handle adversity in the first half, and we dug too big of a hole,” said EKU head coach, A.W. Hamilton, after the game.
It took until 12:57 was left in the half for EKU to get the scoring started. Redshirt junior Darius Hicks got into the paint for a layup, was fouled on the way up and sank in the free throw to bring the score to 14-3.
With 3:11 left in the first half, senior Ty Taylor made a three pointer followed quickly by junior Russhard Cruickshank grabbing a three of his own to cap an 8-0 run for EKU bringing UK within 15 points at 37-23. This is the closest they would get to UK for the rest of the game.
Taylor finished the half leading the Colonels in scoring with six points.
EKU started the second half with a score of 46-25. With 13:52 left in the game, freshman Micheal Moreno sank two three-pointers within the span of a minute to bring the score to 66-35. It would be one minute and 42 seconds later before Moreno found the basket again scoring two more three pointers within a minute to raise the score to 69-41.
“He’s going to be a really big player for us, he’s only practiced for two weeks, didn’t practice all summer wasn’t in practice pre-season,” Hamilton said about Moreno.
Moreno ended the game leading the Colonels in scoring with 14 points. Taylor ended second in scoring with nine points on the game. Junior Jaquess Hobbs scored six points and lead the team with seven rebounds and six assists.
“We turned the ball over way too much… we have to be able to clean that up,” said Hamilton.
EKU turned the ball over 21 times during the game, while EKU forced 18 turnovers by UK.
Taylor weighed in on the turnovers after the game as well saying, “a lot of our turnovers were probably unforced.”
EKU was able to keep Kentucky to 14 percent only scoring 2 of 14 from behind the three point line while scoring eight of their own. The Colonels were unable to stop UK from getting inside and getting to the basket with 27 of their 34 baskets coming from inside the paint.
Eastern Kentucky University will continue their season with a pair of home games; facing University of Ohio Chillicothe on Tuesday at 7 p.m. and Western Kentucky University on Friday at 7 p.m.