MOREHEAD — Eastern Kentucky was resolved Saturday.
No way would the Colonels concede a fourth loss in a row.
So EKU battled back from a 34-27 halftime deficit to knock off rival Morehead State 66-57 before a Johnson Arena crowd of 5,785.
Corey Walden scored 16 of his 20 points in the second half to lead the Colonels (12-9, 4-4 Ohio Valley Conference). Eric Stutz added 17 points and 10 rebounds.
And rebounds is an area where Morehead killed EKU in the first half, 21-9. That turned around as EKU won the second-half battle 20-10.
"We weren't too positive at halftime," Stutz said. "We lost three in a row and we knew we couldn't keep on that streak, so had to play as hard as we could."
"Our guys were absolutely determined to get stops," EKU Coach Jeff Neubauer said. "Isaac (McGlone) went in and got some. Denzel (Richardson) came up big. Eric Stutz had several that I remember. So we had a lot of guys contributing, and that's got to be our focus as a rebounding team."
Morehead (10-14, 5-4) had a three-game winning streak snapped. The Eagles dropped to 3-6 at home, 1-6 against Division I opponents.
Angelo Warner led the Eagles with 17 points. Brent Arrington had 12 points and five assists.
"Hats off to Eastern Kentucky for coming in here with their backs against the wall and just staying the course and staying disciplined enough when our guys didn't finish the game," MSU Coach Sean Woods said. "I thought defensively we did what we needed to do. But offensively we didn't stay the course."
Morehead shot 46.2 percent in the first half, but dropped to 26.1 percent the rest of the way. Overall, the Eagles made 18 of 49 shots (36.7 percent) to EKU's 18 of 42 (42.9 percent).
EKU locked up the win at the free-throw line, going 23-for-27 to Morehead's 14-for-22. Walden made 12 of 13 foul shots and Stutz went 6-for-6.
Early on, Eastern got a jump hook by Stutz to lead 19-15, but Morehead came back with the next six points to seize the lead.
The gap was 29-27 before Morehead closed the half with five straight points on a Warner three-pointer and a layup by Karam Mashour.
EKU's Walden went 4-for-4 from the free-throw line but was held without a field-goal attempt in the half.
"I guess that's just how the game played out," Walden said. "I wasn't really eager to fire shots. I was more looking to get others involved. Not that that was the game plan or anything, but I was just making passes to open players and they were able to stick it in."
Second half, EKU opened with a 10-1 run to take a 37-35 lead, with Morehead missing its first seven shots.
"It was a lack of focus," Woods said. "Guys not sticking to the script. Discipline. That's what it was."
It was still a one-point game, 51-50, when Warner hit a three-point shot with 4:20 left.
EKU scored the next seven points on a three-pointer by McGlone and four free throws by Stutz to lead 58-50 with 2:56 left.
Morehead came no closer than six points from there, and Eastern made its last six points at the free-throw line.
"Our team has been involved in a lot of really close games this year and we've got a veteran group," Neubauer said. "We've got seniors like Corey and Eric Stutz and Timmy Knipp that are really determined to make sure this team is successful this season. So we've been through some, and they haven't always turned out the way that we'd like.
"But I think some of that came into play tonight, where our guys were just absolutely resolute. They had resolve that they were going to go get this thing."