Front court powers Panthers to victory over Cleveland State

Eastern closes out 2014 schedule with 6-6 record

Blake Nash, Staff Reporter

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The Eastern men’s basketball team closed out their 2014 portion of this season with a 67-65 victory over Cleveland State on Tuesday afternoon at Cleveland.

This was the second time the Panthers picked up a victory on the road, and had at least two front court players record double-digits in points in the last week.

Forwards Chris Olivier and Trae Anderson gave the Panthers 12 points apiece, while fellow forward Luke Piotrowski followed with 11 points in his second consecutive start. Piotrowswki also had seven rebounds, to go along with one assist for the Panthers, who’ve now won three games in a row.

As a team the Panthers shot 43.4 percent from the field, and were 7 for 22 from three-point range for 31.8 percent average. Senior forward Josh Piper accounted for three of those three-pointers, giving him nine points on the night, to go along with two rebounds.

One of those threes came during a 10-0 run during the second half that saw the Panthers claw back from a five-point deficit, 57-52, and grab their biggest lead of the game 62-57.

The Panthers would lose that lead twice in the last three and a half minutes, but Olivier responded with five consecutive points in the final two minutes helping the Panthers even their record at 6-6.

“Coach does a good job of getting me going,” Olivier said. “He calls certain plays and he just kept calling my number. I didn’t want to let him down or the team.”

Olivier also had three rebounds for the Panthers, who’ve been out-rebounded for nine straight games. Olivier said that to change that Eastern has to be tougher in the future.

“We’ve just got to be tougher, be nasty,” Olivier said. “We’ve got to make all the box-outs. Sometimes we can’t get them all and the guards have to come down and grab a couple, and they have.”

Shooting guards Reggie Smith and LeTrell “Snoop” Viser led all Eastern guards with three rebounds, apiece. Viser finished with six points, while Smith had six.

The Panthers will open the 2015 portion of their season New Year’s Day against Ohio Valley Conference foe Tennessee Tech at 3:15 p.m. at Lantz Arena.

 

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