Men's Basketball

Eastern Kentucky rises up late to knock off OVC favorite Austin Peay

RICHMOND — When push came to shove Thursday, Eastern Kentucky went down.

The Colonels got up, though, rallying from 10 points down in the last 5:16 to edge Austin Peay 67-65 in McBrayer Arena.

EKU (8-6) has won five of its last six games and is off to a 2-0 start in Ohio Valley Conference play.

"We were down by 10 points ... and still had the tenacity to fight and compete and win a basketball game," Coach Jeff Neubauer said. "It obviously affected us when No. 20, Melvin Baker, shoved Mike DiNunno. We had a very rough stretch right after that, and that's how we got down by 10. But then our guys responded very well.

"In the locker room after the game, I did not compliment any single one of our guys. ... I said it was a great team win because so many guys did good things."

Jaron Jones led the Colonels with 19 points, his 12th consecutive game in double digits. DiNunno added 11 points. D'Mitri Riggs had six points and nine rebounds.

TyShwan Edmondson, a 6-4 senior out of University Heights Academy, topped Austin Peay with 18 points. John Fraley and Josh Terry added 15 points each. Fraley also grabbed 14 rebounds, helping the Governors command the boards 43-28.

EKU led by nine early, and 29-24 at intermission.

Austin Peay (3-11, 0-1), pre-season favorite in the OVC, caught up less than five minutes into the second half.

The game stayed close and, with 8:21 left, tempers flared when Baker, a 6-7 freshman, shoved the 5-11 DiNunno.

Baker drew a technical.

DiNunno, who came into the game leading the OVC in free-throw percentage (93.8), made one of two shots to cut the Govs' lead to 47-46.

Riggs' rebound-dunk put EKU on top 48-47.

Peay scored the next 11 points, though, to lead 58-48. Included were two free throws via a technical on Neubauer.

"I'm not going to comment on the officiating," he said. "But I did not say a word preceding the technical foul."

EKU dug in, though.

"Just gotta keep fighting," Jaron Jones said. "Our coach stresses that. He told us in the huddle, 'Don't give up; still a close game.' And we went out there and did it."

Trailing 63-55, EKU rattled off 12 straight while Peay missed its next eight shots and committed four of its 17 turnovers. The Govs didn't score until Will Triggs' put-back as time ran out.

"We went to our (1-3-1) zone," EKU's Jeff Johnson said. "I think that's our most energetic. We know we can create turnovers off of that, and we just got a couple big stops down the stretch."

Riggs started EKU's rally with a floater in the lane. Jaron Jones and Johnson each made a free throw.

With about 1:20 left, Johnson deflected a Peay pass.

That led to Joshua Jones' 10-foot, game-tying shot from the left wing with 1:12 left.

"I just made the play," said Joshua Jones, who finished with nine points. "All glory to my teammates, though, for keeping us in the game."

Joshua Jones sank two free throws with 33 seconds left.

Then, Johnson again deflected a Governors pass.

DiNunno made a free throw with 17.2 seconds left and another at 9.1.