T he Eastern Kentucky University's men’s team is going to this year's NCAA basketball tournament. The Colonels captured their sixth Ohio Valley Conference title Saturday with a 79-73 victory over Belmont University.
But, to earn the championship, Eastern had to hold off a comeback Bruin team and raucous crowd.
The Sizemore family from London was in the stands for Friday's heart-stopping win over Murray State and Saturday night for the tourney finale. Justin Sizemore says his niece is on the Colonel dance team. The family, including three-year-old Riley and seven-year-old Vincent, chanted along loudly with most cheers. Wife and mother Brianna Sizemore was buoyed by the start of the title game, “I knew it would be a hard game, but they came out to play, they were lights on fire on threes at the beginning and they pulled it out." Sizemore and her family made the trip from London to Richmond for a number of games this season. Just a few rows away, Alexandria Kentucky’s Harold Davis took in his first Eastern game with his freshman daughter. “We didn’t get a chance to come down to Richmond and see them play this year and on a whim decided to come down and watch them play today, so this is good stuff, I like this,” said Davis. Davis adds the team is exciting to watch and promises to be back next year. The tournament's most valuable player award went to Eastern guard Corey Walden, of Daytona Florida. Walden’s mother Lawonna says her son’s decision to transfer to Eastern was a good one, “He loves it here. He really feels like it was a good fit for him." "They’re a big family and I think that contributed to him being as successful as he has been,” she said. Now, Walden and his Colonel teammates await word next weekend on where they will go and which team they will play in the opening round of the NCAA tournament. Tournament games begin March 20th.