RICHMOND — Angelo Warner scored a career-high 33 points Saturday, leading Morehead State to an 86-79 victory over Eastern Kentucky.
Warner said the victory, in front of a McBrayer Arena crowd of 5,500 and an ESPNU television audience, was sweet payback for last month's 76-65 EKU win at Morehead.
"It feels great. All week we practiced a game plan that we thought could work and we executed it to a T," said Warner, a 6-foot-2 junior guard. "Last time we played Eastern, I thought their guards outplayed our guards. And that game (today), I thought that our guards outplayed their guards."
The win moved Morehead into second place in the Ohio Valley Conference, a half-game ahead of Eastern.
The Eagles (16-9, 7-3 OVC) dominated the rebounding 34-20 and shot well from both the field (28-for-48, 58.3 percent) and free-throw line (25-for-31, 80.6 percent).
"It took a week for us to prepare to get to this point," MSU Coach Sean Woods said. "And thank God we did have a week to do so. I thought our guys stuck to the script, unlike we did the last time and, as a result, we got a win."
Warner finished 10-for-15 from the floor, including 3-for-6 from three-point range, and made all 10 of his free-throw chances.
Greg Dotson backed him up with 14 points and Drew Kelly had 10. Chad Posthumus, third in the nation in rebounding, had 13 boards and seven points.
"That's what won us the game," Posthumus said. "Their bigs didn't outplay us, their guards didn't outplay us. We outplayed them across the board. That's a win for us."
Eastern (17-8, 7-4) got 18 points from Glenn Cosey, although he shot 4-for-13 from the field. Tarius Johnson and Orlando Williams scored 14 each, while Eric Stutz and Corey Walden netted 12 apiece.
"Morehead did a really good job this afternoon," EKU Coach Jeff Neubauer said. "Their team was really focused and they attacked us very well.
"I mentioned their focus. They went to the free-throw line and shot over 80 percent, and I think that's a great indication of a team that's locked in and focused together. ... They attacked our defense very well. We really haven't played a lot of zone this year. We did try to play some 1-3-1 the second half because they did attack our man-to-man defense very effectively."
A see-saw first half ended with Morehead on top 36-35.
Eastern burned the Eagles for at least four back-door layups in the half, but got none the rest of the game.
"We knew that was coming. We just had two mishaps or three mishaps, guys just not sticking to the script, paying attention," Woods said. "I got their attention a little bit and we made sure that didn't happen anymore. We just wanted to keep the ball in front."
The Eagles used a 7-0 run early in the second half to take a 50-42 lead, and never let loose.
Warner did his damage on an assortment of drives and jumpers, never taking note that he was in the process of topping his previous best of 25 points.
"I just lost myself within the game, playing within myself, under control and just making the right play," he said.
The lead grew to 73-60 with 4:25 left.
Eastern never came closer than six from there.
"They just outplayed us, honestly," Johnson said. "They came out with a better focus than we did and they outplayed us."
Starting with Warner.
"I'm not surprised at Angelo," Woods said. "Angelo's been the rock on our team all year. He's one of the toughest guys, mentally and physically, that I've been around. This was just a game suited for him because he's hard to stop one-on-one driving, because he's so strong at turning the corner. And he's a big-time finisher."
Mark Maloney: (859) 231-3229. Twitter: @markmaloneyhl. Blog: markmaloney.bloginky.com.