For the first time in program history, an Eastern Kentucky University men’s basketball player has recorded a triple-double.
Cozart, who played less than 29 minutes, secured his history-making accomplishment with 67 seconds to go in the contest when he blocked a baseline jumper attempted by the Trojans.
— EKUHoops (@EKUHoops) November 28, 2023
This impressive statistical line — which included Cozart breaking his own school record for blocks in a game — was needed to give the Colonels (3-2) their first win over an NCAA Division I team this season.
Postgame, EKU head coach A.W. Hamilton said Cozart hurt his knee during the Colonels’ last game, a home loss last week to Prairie View A&M.
“He was lights out,” Hamilton said after Monday night’s win. “... That was a gutsy performance by Cozi. Cozi just cleans up a lot of mistakes when we’re out there pressuring and guards get downhill. He just gets his hands on so many balls and he affects so many balls, so many shots.”
Cozart, a native of Richmond who previously played at Western Kentucky, has been an early standout for an EKU team that has been almost universally predicted to win the ASUN Conference this season and return to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2014.
An all-state performer at Madison Central High School, Cozart has started all five games for the Colonels this season and leads the team in field goals made (36), points per game (16.6), rebounds per game (11) and total blocks (30).
Last season, Cozart was fourth in the country in total blocks and set EKU single-season records for total blocks (94) and blocks per game (2.54).
“I always tell myself (that) my defense has to fuel my offense,” Cozart said. “Getting stops and getting blocks and rebounds and the defensive rebounds and all that, it gives you energy to do good stuff on the offensive floor.”
During EKU basketball media day in late October, Hamilton said the way Cozart ended last season — averaging 18 points, 11 rebounds and three blocks per game for EKU during a run to the College Basketball Invitational championship game — has translated to what is expected to be a standout senior campaign for the 6-foot-7 center.
“What he did in the CBI has carried over to what he’s doing right now,” Hamilton said. “He’s playing with so much confidence. We’re running plays for him, he’s finishing with his right hand now, he’s making free throws.”
EKU will play its first road game of the 2023-24 season at 5 p.m. Sunday at Western Kentucky (4-3).
This will be the 162nd all-time meeting between the rival schools.
EKU and WKU first played each other in men’s basketball in the 1914-15 season: Western Kentucky leads the all-time series 117-44, and the Hilltoppers have won four straight games and 18 of the last 20 in the series (including a 66-60 win at EKU last year).
WKU, under first-year head coach Steve Lutz, has already beaten Murray State this season.