Panthers defeat Indiana State for second-straight victory

Junior+forward+Chris+Olivier+powers+through+two+Northern+Illinois+opponents+during+the+Panthers%27+59-55+win+over+the+Huskies+on+Dec.+13+at+Lantz+Arena.++The+Panthers+beat+Indiana+State+60-56+on+Saturday+in+Terra+Haute%2C+Ind.%2C+to+improve+to+5-6+on+the+season.++Olivier+scored+15+points+for+the+Panthers.
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Panthers defeat Indiana State for second-straight victory

Junior forward Chris Olivier powers through two Northern Illinois opponents during the Panthers' 59-55 win over the Huskies on Dec. 13 at Lantz Arena.  The Panthers beat Indiana State 60-56 on Saturday in Terra Haute, Ind., to improve to 5-6 on the season.  Olivier scored 15 points for the Panthers.

Junior forward Chris Olivier powers through two Northern Illinois opponents during the Panthers' 59-55 win over the Huskies on Dec. 13 at Lantz Arena. The Panthers beat Indiana State 60-56 on Saturday in Terra Haute, Ind., to improve to 5-6 on the season. Olivier scored 15 points for the Panthers.

Jason Howell

Junior forward Chris Olivier powers through two Northern Illinois opponents during the Panthers' 59-55 win over the Huskies on Dec. 13 at Lantz Arena. The Panthers beat Indiana State 60-56 on Saturday in Terra Haute, Ind., to improve to 5-6 on the season. Olivier scored 15 points for the Panthers.

Jason Howell

Jason Howell

Junior forward Chris Olivier powers through two Northern Illinois opponents during the Panthers' 59-55 win over the Huskies on Dec. 13 at Lantz Arena. The Panthers beat Indiana State 60-56 on Saturday in Terra Haute, Ind., to improve to 5-6 on the season. Olivier scored 15 points for the Panthers.

Blake Nash, Staff Reporter

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The Eastern men’s basketball team won its second-straight game on Saturday over Indiana State 60-56 at the Hulman Center in Terre Haute, Ind for the first time in 25 years.

The game featured a combined 39 turnovers by both teams, including 18 by the Sycamores and 21 by the Panthers.

Coach Jay Spoonhour said it was a sloppy game.

I’m sure (Indiana State) coach Greg Lansing would agree,” Spoonhour said. “We didn’t change anything in the second half, except stop making foolish mistakes.”

However, it was Eastern’s Cornell Johnston, who finished with 11 points, including making a key layup to give the Panthers a late lead with 23 seconds remaining.

“My team told me to stay confident and keep attacking and that’s what I did,” Johnston said. “I thought it was a big play, but it wasn’t as big as the others. Our whole team made big plays throughout the game.”

Power forward Chris Olivier thought that Johnston’s shot was big, but thought his teammate was going to pass it him underneath the basket.

“The man guarding him stayed with me and he had the wide-open lane,” Olivier said. “That was big time for him.

Olivier led the Panthers with 15 points and seven rebounds.

The Panthers’ defense also kept the Sycamores cold from three-point range as the Sycamores hit only 1-of-12 from beyond the arc in the first half, and finished 6-of-25 for the game.

The Sycamores finished the game hitting only 36.4% from the field.

It was also a game that featured two completely different starts to the halves.

Both teams started off the first half missing on their first two positions, while the Sycamores went without a score on five of their first six possessions.

The second half was a different story with the Panthers hitting on three of their first four possessions, including a dunk, followed by a free throw by forward Luke Piotrowski, who was making his debut into the starting lineup.

“I think he brought the energy,” Olivier said. “When I saw him hit those layups and that dunk, it got me going.”

Piotrowski finished with nine points and two rebounds in his first start.

The only statistic Indiana State came out on top at the end, was in the rebounding category, which the Sycamores won 35-25.

The Sycamores leading scorer Justin Gant finished with rebounds, to go along with 14 points.

 

Blake Nash can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]