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RALEIGH, N.C. – The Eastern Kentucky University men’s basketball team defeated North Florida, 80-67, in its season opener on Wednesday evening at the Mako Medical Wolfpack Invitational.
Junior Tre King led a balanced scoring effort for EKU (1-0), posting a double-double of 15 points and 10 rebounds. He added four steals and two blocks.
Three other Colonels reached double figures in their EKU debuts. Redshirt freshman Curt Lewis had 13 points, five rebounds, three assists and three steals, despite playing only 18 minutes. Freshman Wendell Green Jr. contributed 12 points, six assists and two steals. Junior Cooper Robb – a transfer from UNC Charlotte – went for 10 points, eight boards and a team-best five steals in his EKU debut.
In all, nine Colonels scored in the game.
Eastern shot only 35.4 percent from the field (29-of-82) and 18 percent from deep (5-of-28); however, the Colonels forced North Florida (0-1) into 21 turnovers and out-rebounded the Ospreys, 50-40, on the night.
Carter Hendricksen paced UNF with 20 points and seven rebounds.
North Florida jumped out to an 8-0 lead, and the Ospreys grabbed a 19-11 advantage when Hendricksen knocked down a triple with 14:08 left in the first half.
Eastern, however, responded with an 11-0 run. A three pointer by Green Jr. at the 11:59 mark gave the Colonels their first lead of the game. They never trailed again.
A thunderous dunk by sophomore Tariq Balogun sent EKU into the locker room at halftime up by 16, 50-34.
A layup by Robb with 5:24 left in the game gave the Colonels their largest lead of the night, 78-54.
EKU returns to action on Friday when the Colonels square off against Charleston Southern in their final game of the Wolfpack Invitational. Tip is scheduled for 2 p.m. ET.
— www.EKUSports.com ––