Behind the career-best scoring performance by junior transfer Cheikh Faye, the Eastern Kentucky University men’s basketball team handed the Transylvania Pioneers their third loss of the season.
The Colonels blew past the Pioneers at McBrayer Arena by a final score of 81-60.
Faye led EKU with 16 points, four rebounds and two steals.
“Coach always believed in me, he kept giving me opportunities and it paid off tonight,” Faye said.
A late first half 3-point hot streak helped the Colonels turn a three point lead into a nine point advantage at the half. Faye made three 3-pointers and had 11 points during EKU’s 16-8 run to end the first half.
The Colonel defense forced the Pioneers into 26 turnovers which led to 32 points for EKU.
“I thought they handled the press better than anybody we’ve played so far this year,” head coach A.W. Hamilton said.
The Colonels faced foul trouble in the first half, but Hamilton was pleased with the performance from his bench players.
“I love what our guys did off the bench,” Hamilton said. “Those guys came in and gave us a huge lift. We didn’t play our best in the first half… but then in the second half I thought we played tremendously.”
The second half was a different story as the Colonels did not allow the Pioneers to shoot a foul shot.
In the second half, junior guard Jomaru Brown went down with an apparent shoulder injury and left the game.
“It breaks my heart to see Jomaru get hurt like that. He was playing really well. He was finally getting back into his rhythm and that really hurt because he is such a special kid.”
Brown scored 13 points before leaving the game.
This was the first meeting between the two squads since Dec. 15, 2001. The Colonels now lead the all-time series 29-13, and has won 15 straight over the Pioneers.
“We love playing them (Transylvania) and this is really going to help us,” Hamilton said.
Freshman guard Wendell Green Jr. had 12 points while freshman guard Curt Lewis finished with 11 points and five boards.
Eastern Kentucky shot 47 percent from the field. The Colonels held the Pioneers to 38 percent from the field.
Hamilton said that Brandon Knapper will return to the team this week after dealing with an injury to start the season.
EKU will hit the road to face rival Morehead State University on Monday at 6 p.m.
“It’s going to be an absolute war,” Hamilton said about Monday’s game against Morehead St.