Men's Basketball

College basketball notes: Belmont hands EKU its first OVC loss

Eastern Kentucky's men's basketball team overcame a 17-point first half deficit and led by four with six and a half minutes to go, but couldn't finish off Belmont in an 83-76 road loss in Nashville.

The Bruins (14-4, 5-0 OVC) went up by 17, 29-12, with 4:52 left in the first half. The Colonels (14-4, 4-1 OVC) whittled the deficit to nine at halftime. Eastern came out in the second half and used a 17-6 run to take the lead.

Timmy Knipp hit two three-pointers and Orlando Williams and Mike DiNunno each knocked down one during the run. DiNunno's triple capped it and put the visitors on top 41-39, their first lead of the game, with 17:02 to go. Another DiNunno three-pointer and two free throws with 6:39 remaining had EKU in front by four, 69-65.

But Belmont rolled off 12 unanswered points to take the lead with 3:26 on the clock. Back-to-back three-pointers by DiNunno made it a two-point game, but that's as close as the Colonels would get.

DiNunno scored a game-best 24 points on 7-of-14 shooting from the field. Knipp finished with a career-best 13. Williams added 10 points, six assists, three steals and three rebounds.

Other state men's games

Murray State 70, Eastern Illinois 49: Isaiah Canaan netted 17 points as host Murray State trounced Ohio Valley Conference-rival Eastern Illinois.

Dexter Fields added 12 points and Ed Daniel 10 with nine rebounds for the Racers (13-4, 4-1), who have won four of their past five.

Murray State drained 52.2 percent (24 of 46) from the field, including 11 of 25 from three-point range with Canaan hitting 5 of 10 from deep and Fields knocking down 4 of 9.

Tied 31-31 with 17:30 left, Murray State went on an 18-2 run fueled by six three-pointers, including three by Fields and two by Canaan, for a 49-33 lead with 12:03 left.

Morehead State 75, SE Missouri 59: Drew Kelly led a balanced scoring effort with 15 points and Morehead State pulled away in the final 12 minutes of the game for a road victory over Southeast Missouri.

Morehead State (9-10, 3-2), sparked by a free throw by Bruce Reed at 11:44 and a basket by Reed at 11:22, began to take control of the contest that was tied 13 times.

Angelo Warner scored 12 points for Morehead State and Bakari Turner and Reed scored 10 each. Chad Posthumus grabbed 13 rebounds, giving Morehead State a 45-23 advantage on the glass.

Western Kentucky 72, Louisiana-Lafayette 49: Brandon Harris scored 16 points to lead four Western Kentucky players in double figures in a 72-49 rout of visiting Louisiana-Lafayette.

Western Kentucky (11-8, 5-3 Sun Belt Conference) ended a three-game losing streak with devastating runs at the end of the first half and the start of the second.

George Fant finished with 10 points, and T.J. Price and Teeng Akol had 13 each for the Hilltoppers.

Stetson 71, Northern Kentucky 59: Joel Naburgs and Chris Perez each scored 17 points as Stetson picked up its fourth straight win, defeating Northern Kentucky at home in Atlantic Sun Conference action.

Chad Jackson led Northern Kentucky (4-10, 2-4) with 15 points, and Ethan Faulkner had 12. Freshmen Jack Flournoy and Tyler White, who each set career highs with 18 points in the Norse's 67-53 win over Lipscomb on Jan. 11, scored six points each and shot a combined 4 for 18.

Men's Top 25

No. 10 Florida 68, Texas A&M 47: Florida coach Billy Donovan thought his team could be great defensively entering this season.

So far the Gators are proving him right.

Mike Rosario scored 19 points and Patric Young added 18 as No. 10 Florida cruised to a victory over host Texas A&M.

It was a letdown for Texas A&M (12-4, 2-1 Southeastern Conference), which was coming off an 83-71 victory at Kentucky on Saturday. Elston Turner scored a career-high 40 points in that win, but managed just four points Thursday on 1-of-10 shooting.