Colonels to Host Norfolk State in First Round of CIT Tuesday

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Eastern Kentucky University’s men’s basketball team will host Norfolk State University in the first round of the 7th Annual CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament (CIT) on Tuesday, at 7 p.m., the university announced today.

Norfolk State is 20-13 overall and finished second in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) with a 12-4 record.  The No. 2 seeded Spartans were upset by eventual champion Hampton, 75-64, in the semifinals of the MEAC Tournament.  Only three Ohio Valley Conference teams have a higher RPI than NSU’s 167.

One lucky student could win a free meal plan, free books from Barnes & Noble at EKU and a half scholarship for next semester by sinking the Mega Prize Pack Half-Court Shot at Tuesday’s game.

Eastern Kentucky (19-11, 11-5 OVC) is making its third straight appearance in a national postseason tournament.  This is Eastern’s sixth national postseason tournament appearance in the last 11 years.  Included among those six are three NCAA Tournament trips.

Free St. Patrick’s Day themed EKU t-shirts will be given away at the game.  All Eastern Kentucky University students will receive FREE admission.  Tickets for lower level chair-back seats will be $15, upper chair-back seats are $10 and general admission seats are $8.  EKU season ticket holders and Colonel Club members can purchase chair-back tickets for half price if ordered in advance.  EKU faculty and staff can receive half price general admission seats.  To order tickets, or for more information, call the ticket office at 859-622-2122.

The live radio broadcast is available in the Richmond area on WCYO 100.7 FM, and can be heard worldwide on EKUSports.com.  A live free video broadcast is available on CollegeInsider.com.

The Colonels are on the cusp of the 10th 20-win season in program history due in large part to their defense.  Eastern Kentucky leads the OVC with 63 points allowed per game.  EKU is fourth in the nation in steals (9.7 spg), has forced its opponents into an average of 18.9 turnovers per game and leads the country in turnover margin (+7.3).

Eastern ended the regular season with eight wins in nine games, to post a top-3 finish in the Ohio Valley Conference for the third straight season. 

When senior Eric Stutz steps on the court Tuesday he will tie the EKU record for games played, making his 131st appearance as a Colonel.  A victory over Norfolk State would give fellow senior Deverin Muff his 100th win as a Colonel.  Senior Corey Walden has already broken the school record for career steals and steals in a season.  He now has the eighth most steals in OVC history and his 90 steals this season are the fourth most-ever by an OVC player.  He is five steals away from reaching the top-5 on the OVC career list and four steals away for tying for the second most in one season in conference history.

Eastern Kentucky played in the 2013 CIT, beating Gardner-Webb 69-62 before falling to Evansville, 86-72.  The victory at Gardner-Webb was the first for EKU in a national postseason tournament in 68 years.

The CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament was created in 2009.  Invitations to the 32-team postseason tournament are extended only to teams outside of the BCS power conferences.  There is no formal bracket for the tournament.  The match-ups for each round are determined after the preceding round is completed.

Norfolk State is led by a trio of juniors.  Jeff Short, a 6-foot-4 guard, averages a team-best 19.2 points per game.  RaShid Gaston, a 6-foot-9 forward, nearly averages a double-double at 15.3 points and 9.5 rebounds per game while shooting 62 percent from the field.  D’Shon Taylor, a 6-foot-5 guard, contributes 13 points and 5.1 rebounds per game.

As a team, NSU has limited its opponents to 65.8 points per game, 41 percent shooting from the field and 33 percent shooting from three-point range.

Short was held to 10 points on 2-of-10 shooting in the semifinal loss to Hampton.  The Spartans committed 26 personal fouls and sent Hampton to the line 38 times.

The first round will be played on Tuesday and Wednesday.  Second-round CIT games will be played Friday and Saturday, quarterfinal games March 24-25 and semifinal games March 31.  The championship game will be played on April 2.  The semifinals and the championship game will be broadcast live on CBS Sports Network.

Published on March 16, 2015

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