EKU sets the pace in home opener

Freshman guard Turner Buttry tied the team high of 19 points against Miami (OH)-Middletown. The game against the Thunderhawks was Buttry's first collegiate appearance. 

The Eastern Kentucky University (EKU) men’s basketball team put on an impressive showing during their season opener, beating Miami (OH)-Middletown 137-52. EKU opened the 2022-2023 season at Baptist Health Arena on Nov. 7 against the Thunderhawks.

The Colonels came out strong in the first half, scoring the first nine points of the contest. EKU then created a 28-point gap, closing out the half with a dunk by Isaiah Cozart to give the Colonels the lead at halftime, 59-31.

Michael Moreno led the Colonels with 12 points in the first half, followed by Devontae Blanton with 11, and Cozart with nine. Moreno also led in team blocks with two. Cooper Robb had three steals in the first half, followed by Moreno’s two.

EKU started the second half on a 19-2 run and held the Thunderhawks to only four points through the first nine minutes. EKU performed dominantly and hit their 100th point with 8:45 left on the clock when freshman guard Turner Buttry made his two free throws.

The Colonels extended their lead through the final eight minutes of play, peaking at an 87-point lead to complete the win, 137-52.

With his first collegiate outing, Buttry, the former Mr. Kentucky Basketball, said he had some nerves coming into the game, but felt better after a few trips down the court.

Buttry had a standout night tying the team high 19 points with one rebound and two assists.

John Ukomadu also scored 19 points and Moreno followed with 18. 

The Colonels had seven players record points in the double digits and 11 players recording at least one steal.

EKU tied the school record for most assists in a single game at 34, with 10 players recording at least two.

“We’re sharing the ball, everyone is getting a little love and that’s the most important thing. Everyone is getting production out there. The fact we’ve been able to distribute it is huge for us,” said Moreno.

With the first game of the season behind them, EKU looks towards Western Kentucky on Thursday.

“I’m from Bowling Green and this (EKU) is where I wanted to come (play basketball). Being in that rivalry, it’s exciting,” said Buttry.

EKU will take on Western Kentucky University at Baptist Health Arena in Richmond on Thursday, Nov. 10 with tipoff at 7 p.m. Kentucky Sports Radio will be live from McBrayer Court from 10 a.m. until noon on Thursday. The game will be televised on ESPN+ and aired on WCYO 100.7 FM.

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