EKU-Morehead could go to chairmen of boards

Hits and misses from Friday’s interviews with Eastern Kentucky men’s basketball coach Jeff Neubauer and his lone senior, guard Mike DiNunno.

Coach and player both cited defense as the key to EKU’s 13-3 start (3-0 Ohio Valley Conference). (See Herald-Leader and kentucky.com.)

Another key, though, when the Colonels play host to Morehead State (Saturday, 7 p.m.) figures to be rebounds.

Morehead, led by Chad Posthumus with 6.5 a game, has outrebounded opponents by an average of 37.9-33.3. The Eagles have 256 offensive rebounds.

EKU, with 148 offensive boards, has been outrebounded on average 33.0-26.9.

DiNunno, 5-foot-11, plans to do his part.

“It’s kind of just become a running theme for us this year,” he said. “We have guys who crash really well. But compared to some other teams, especially when we play the bigger teams like Illinois and West Virginia, teams like Morehead (and) a team like Towson earlier in the year, we gave up a little size to them. So we always have to make sure we focus on rebounding.

“And a big part of our rebounding, too, is it hasn’t just come from our ‘bigs’ but the focus on our other guards getting in there. Early in the year, guys like me and Glenn (Cosey) didn’t understand that we had to chase down balls just as much as our bigs did. So we try to get in there and help a little bit, and I think it’s taken some pressure off of our big men … and give them more time to rebound out of their area.”

* EKU has won 10 in a row at home, 9-0 this season. The Colonels played their first seven games at home.

“Last year we started with our first 10 games away from home, and this year we started with our first seven at home,” Neubauer said. “So it gave our new players an opportunity to come together and get comfortable in our system. So we did set up the month of December where we were on the road. We played at home on Dec. 1, and then the entire rest of the month of December we traveled. We competed really well. So now, at this point, we do have four road wins, which is as many as we had last year.”

* Cosey, a 6-0 junior, leads EKU with 15 points a game. However, a broken finger kept him out of Wednesday’s game at Murray State. Neubauer declined to say what Cosey’s status is for Saturday’s game.

“Glenn has been an outstanding shooter for us,” Neubauer said. “A really solid ball-handler. Has a great assist-turnover (50-19) ratio for us, and he has been another guys who has just been solid for us and has allowed us to get off to this good start.”

* DiNunno on another key to beating Morehead: “Just a continuous focus on the things that we’ve been locked on from the beginning of the year. We know what the formula is. We know what we have to do in order to give ourselves the definitive advantage on the floor.”

* EKU is shooting 74.6 percent at the free-throw line, topped by Corey Walden (44 of 50, 88 percent) and DiNunno (35-41, 85.4). The Colonels sank 13 of 14 chances Wednesday at Murray.

Said DiNunno: “… Three or four games ago, we didn’t shoot too well from the stripe. Coach kind of blamed himself and took that upon himself. Because we kind of got away from our usual free-throw stuff in practice because there were just so many other things that we had to focus on. … We were so focused on rebounding (vs. West Virginia) … that we kind of got away from our free-throw routine a little bit. So Coach blamed himself for it. He took it upon himself and he got us back into the rhythm of things and implemented certain segments of practice where we just worked on free throws. Ever since then, we’ve been shooting it great. We have guys on this team who are all more than capable of shooting a high percentage at the free-throw line. So it’s just a matter of locking in and stepping up to the line and hitting them.”

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