In its first game of a four-game tour of Australia, the Eastern Kentucky University men’s basketball team lost 76-65 to the Sydney Kings at the Sutherland Basketball Stadium.
The fact that Eastern Kentucky had landed in Sydney a mere 24 hours prior to the game was hidden behind some great energy and focus as the young team threw everything they had at the new look Kings.
New Sydney Head Coach Damian Cotter was happy with his team’s performance in the teams first real hit out.
“I didn’t have many expectations coming in, but what I did want to see was guys playing hard and playing together, and for the most part I thought we did that,” he said.
“We did have some defensive lapses in the third quarter, but I’m not going to get too negative about that.”
“Overall, it was a good hit-out and we’ll get a lot better as time moves on.”
Matt McQuade noted that an undermanned Sydney team which was missing forward Cody Ellis and playing without their two imports, shot 49% from the field, were just 23 of 40 from the free throw line and hit three triples from 12 attempts in their victory.
McQuade also reported that Angus Brandt made an impressive debut, registering a monster double-double with 20 points and 18 rebounds, Josh Duinker had 15 points and eight rebounds, Kevin White contributed 15 points and four boards and Tom Garlepp had an efficient 11 points and five rebounds.
The Colonels overcame a seven-point halftime deficit to take a 43-42 lead in the third quarter before the Kings rolled off 11 unanswered and never trailed again. Jaylen Babb-Harrison’s three-pointer gave EKU its one-point lead before Sydney went on its big run.
Senior Corey Walden tied for the game-high with 20 points. He also had nine rebounds, six assists and two steals before fouling out with 5:22 left in the game. Babb-Harrison, a redshirt sophomore, scored 16 points while senior Eric Stutz contributed 11 points and seven rebounds.
Eastern Kentucky shot only 31 percent (22-of-70) from the field. The Colonels made just 2-of-16 from behind the three-point line in the first half (13 percent) and finished 7-for-37 (19 percent) from deep. As it has done for most of the past two seasons, EKU committed fewer turnovers (24-15), but the visitors were out-scored 40-20 in the paint.
Freshmen Daniel Norl and Paul Jackson finished with five and three points respectively in their first game as Colonels.
Sydney take on another touring college on Tuesday, 19th August against Hartford University which will be held at the Kings’ School in North Parramatta at 7:00pm.
The Colonels will face the Wollongong Hawks on Sunday at 4 p.m. Australian time and 2 a.m. ET.
Eastern Kentucky Colonels Australian Game Schedule
Aug. 8th at Sydney Kings L 65-76
Aug. 10th at Wollongong Hawks 4 p.m. (2 a.m. ET)
Aug. 11th at Suncoast Clippers 8:30 p.m. (6:30 a.m. ET)
Aug. 14th at Cairns Taipans 7 p.m. (5 a.m. ET)