RICHMOND — From the opposing coach's perspective, Eastern Kentucky's Mike Rose controlled the entire game, certainly the last eight minutes.
"They just put the ball in his hands late," Morehead State's Donnie Tyndall said.
From his own coach's viewpoint, Rose has lifted his game to another level during his senior season, and it showed in Eastern's 74-70 victory over the Eagles on Wednesday night.
"He's even exceeded our expectations," EKU Coach Jeff Neubauer said.
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After Morehead scored the first 13 points, a trio of three-pointers by Rose launched an EKU comeback, the Colonels closing within four points at halftime.
Seven and a half minutes into the second half, a Rose layup gave Eastern its first lead. Four free throws in the last eight seconds clinched the victory.
Rose finished with 30 points, 16 after the break. Already the nation's leading three-point percentage marksman (49.2), he was 4-for-6 against Morehead.
Rose's teammates fed off his play in a team effort to complete the comeback in a key Ohio Valley Conference game.
The fifth-place Colonels (17-10) are 10-6 in the OVC, remaining a half-game out of fourth and staying in contention for a first-round home game in the OVC Tournament beginning March 3.
Morehead (16-12, 12-4) fell out of first place when UT Martin (12-3) defeated Eastern Illinois 76-60.
Led by a Rose three-pointer, the Colonels got into a lead-swapping duel with the Eagles midway through the half.
Seven swaps ended when Josh Taylor nailed a trey for a 57-55 EKU lead with 5:39 left. Rose scored nine of Eastern's last 15 points.
The Colonels' defense held Morehead scoreless for three minutes and to five points for 4½ minutes until the final 30 seconds.
The Eagles got within 72-70 on a Terrance Hill trey with three seconds left.
Morehead was led by Kenneth Faried with 22 points and 15 rebounds, his 18th double-double, ranking him fourth nationally. Leon Buchanan had 25 points and 10 boards.
Maze Stallworth, whose six three-pointers helped the Eagles to a 68-64 victory in Morehead last month, was 1-for-8 from the field, 1-for-7 behind the arc.
"We did a good job of containment," Rose said.
"They made adjustments," Tyndall said.
"We prepared better," Neubauer said. "We were fortunate he was 1-for-7."
Neubauer praised his team for not panicking after falling behind early.
"We stuck with it," he said. "We did enough to take the lead in the second half and hold it."
After taking its 13-0 lead, Morehead committed three turnovers, and Eastern launched its comeback.
Freshman Jorge Camacho worked his way for a layup to put the Colonels on the board with 13:11 left.
Rose then began his personal rally with a trio of three-pointers and a layup over a three-minute period to get Eastern within 20-14.
Later, Eastern made perhaps the most dramatic field goal of the half.
Joshua Jones' three-pointer from the right corner went through the net with zero on the shot clock, 2:06 on the game clock.
EKU's Robin Mestdagh hit a three, and Rose split the MSU defense for a dunk. Faried followed his own miss with a putback for a 30-26 Eagles lead at the break.
Morehead shot 56.5 percent in the half to Eastern's 34.5.
Eastern shot 60.7 percent in the second half to Morehead's 41.9 percent. The Colonels committed only one turnover after intermission, seven for the game.
Morehead had won seven of its last eight games. Entering the game, the Eagles lad the OVC in field goal percentage defense (41.2 percent), rebounding (39.0) and rebounding margin (plus 7.5).
■ Eastern was ranked second nationally in three-pointers made a game (10.5), 10th in three-point shooting (39.9 percent) and eighth in fewest turnovers a game (11.2).