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Steelers backs Bell, Blount will face drug charges -8/21/2014, 10:03 AM

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Split position for Tiger volleyball -8/21/2014, 10:03 AM

'Mr. Reliable' Frankie Hammond Jr. steps up -8/21/2014, 10:03 AM

Walk-on tryouts for FHSU golf -8/20/2014, 3:32 PM

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Royals streak past Rockies -8/20/2014, 10:20 AM

More holiday tournaments for Wichita State -8/20/2014, 10:20 AM

Monarchs in third year under Montgomery -8/20/2014, 10:20 AM

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Black kicks things off at Hays High -8/19/2014, 10:05 AM

Kratz homers twice in Royals' win -8/19/2014, 10:04 AM

Johnny Manziel, middle finger, steal the show in preseason game -8/19/2014, 10:04 AM

Kinberger, Holub leaving FHSU -8/18/2014, 1:45 PM

49ers' inaugural nightmare at Levi's Stadium -8/18/2014, 10:16 AM

Jeff Gordon wins at Michigan -8/18/2014, 10:16 AM

FHSU women draw at Hastings -8/18/2014, 10:16 AM

Tiger men play to draw in exhibition -8/18/2014, 10:16 AM

Live look for Tiger football -8/18/2014, 10:16 AM

Chiefs' offense comes up empty again in preseason loss -8/18/2014, 10:16 AM

Royals fall to Twins -8/17/2014, 11:10 AM

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Tigers scrimmage today -8/17/2014, 5:11 PM

Wiggins the next big thing? -8/16/2014, 5:11 PM

Royals rally for Friday win -8/16/2014, 5:11 PM

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Atwood 76, St. Francis 65

Dighton 62, Oberlin 47

Hillsboro 50, Goodland 47

Lakeside 42, Lincoln 32

Minneapolis 68, Russell 35

Rock Hills 42, Natoma 37

Salina Central 62, Andover 58

Salina South 62, Sacred Heart 47

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St. John's Beloit-Tipton 57, Osborne 34

Sylvan-Lucas 61, Thunder Ridge 48

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Dighton 44, Atwood 11

Dodge City 71, Hays High 28

Hesston 51, Goodland 18

Hoisington 60, Victoria 46

Hoxie 65, St. Francis 13

Lincoln 33, Lakeside 26

Minneapolis 47, Otis-Bison 24

Osborne 59, Wilson 34

Sharon Springs 63, Oberlin 42

Sylvan-Lucas 43, Natoma 41 (ot)

Tescott 41, Rock Hills 33

Trego 56, Leoti 27

Thunder Ridge 33, St. John's Beloit-Tipton 30

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SPOTLIGHT
Eastern Kentucky prepares for second-seed Jayhawks

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Eastern Kentucky prepares for second-seed Jayhawks

Published on -3/20/2014, 9:59 AM

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By GARY B. GRAVES

Associated Press

RICHMOND, Ky. -- Eastern Kentucky's chances of upsetting second-seeded Kansas in Friday's South Region game depend on whether its seasoned, guard-heavy lineup can continue forcing mistakes.

The 15th-seeded Colonels (24-9) will need everything clicking to beat the Jayhawks (24-9) in St. Louis and earn their first tournament victory in eight tries. Guard Glenn Cosey and five fellow seniors must slow down a Kansas offense featuring heralded freshman Andrew Wiggins and maintain the offensive consistency that helped clinch the Ohio Valley Conference tournament title.

Scoring isn't an issue for EKU, which has matched or exceeded its 79-points-per-game average five times while winning seven straight. But beating the heavily-favored Jayhawks could require at least that many points along with the Colonels' best defensive effort this season in their first tournament appearance since 2007.

"Teams aren't going to have a problem with our length because we're not as long as other teams," said Cosey, EKU's top scorer at 18.8 points per contest.

"But our pressure and our style of play is different. We play fast, we have good guards. The main thing for us will be our pressure."

The Colonels' guard-laden lineup also hopes experience helps them compete against a Kansas squad averaging 79.6 points per game while allowing nearly 71, just like them.

EKU's challenge will be containing Wiggins (17.4 points per game), Perry Ellis (13.6) and Wayne Selden Jr. (10.2). Seven-foot rebounder and shot-blocker Joel Embiid is out indefinitely with a stress fracture in his back, but the Colonels certainly have their hands full with Kansas' tall and talented roster.

"Both ends will be a challenge for us," said Colonels coach Jeff Neubauer, whose team will play its first NCAA tournament game since his second season as coach.

"Even with Embiid out, these guys are attacking the rim. What's scary about them is how they rebound. I mean, they're like the 10th best (in margin, +7.3), and we're (tied for) 10th worst (-6.1). One thing I've always stressed is stealing the ball, so that has to be our approach."

Neubauer's ball-hawking philosophy has paid off as EKU enters the tournament ranked second nationally in turnover margin at +6.3 per game. Since back-to-back losses to Morehead State and Tennessee Tech, the Colonels have surged behind a defense that has forced 15.4 turnovers per game including 19 in an OVC semifinal win over Murray State.

EKU forced just 11 against top-seeded Belmont in the title game but won 79-73 with 51 percent shooting and never trailed. Junior guard and tournament MVP Corey Walden scored a career-best 29 points, Cosey added 23 and senior Tarius Johnson 15.

More importantly, EKU held opponents below 47 percent from the field during the tournament.

Cosey, Johnson and fellow seniors Marcus Lewis and Orlando Williams have been regular contributors for EKU, while forward Jeff Johnson and guard Ryan Parsons have chipped in as reserves. In fact, Neubauer credits his whole roster for playing a role this season because the seniors set the tone.

EKU earned a conference championship as a result, but its veterans know they'll have to be near-perfect to stop Kansas.

"We've just been working on our defense," Cosey added. "We knew were going to face bigger teams, so we need to pressure the ball and just defend. We know we've got to play harder."

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