Late free throws lift Panthers to 61-59 victory

Chatman’s two free throws cap late 6-0 run

Blake Nash, Staff Reporter

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A pair of free throws by senior guard Dylan Chatman sent the Panthers to a 61-59 victory over Tennessee Tech on Thursday in their Ohio Valley Conference opener.

It was Eastern’s fourth straight victory and their first of that kind since the 2009-10 season.

Chatman’s free throws capped of a 6-0 by the Panthers, which began with 11 seconds remaining in the game and the Panthers down by four.

Fellow senior Reggie Smith hit a 3-pointer shrinking the Golden Eagles’ lead to 59-58.

Good pressure defense, a turnover and a successful one-and-one try by Chris Olivier six seconds later tied the game, but Chatman was fouled on the rebound attempt, putting him on the line for the game-winning free throws.

Chatman finished with five points, two assists and three rebounds for the Panthers, who were led by Olivier’s season-high 22 points. Olivier was also 6-of-12 from the line and also led Eastern with six rebounds.

Olivier said that his foul shooting has improved since the beginning of the season.

“At the start of the season I was like Shaq,” Olivier said. “Lately I’ve been getting into the gym and shooting 50-100 shots a day.”

Free throws were also key for the Golden Eagles who hit 14-of 20-from the line, including three in a row by center Charles Jackson that gave them the biggest lead of the second half 59-54.

Jackson was 5-of-6 from the line and finished with seven points and led Tennessee Tech with 15 rebounds.

Guards Torrance Rowe and Dwan Caldwell led the Golden Eagles with 17 and 12 points, respectively, while Caldwell also had eight rebounds.

The Panthers were out-rebounded for the 10th consecutive game, 43-31, but were without power forward Trae Anderson, who was injured in last week’s victory over Cleveland State.

“He makes a lot of plays, Coach Jay Spoonhour said in a press release. “Any time you have something like this it’s just a chance for someone to fill in. It doesn’t mean you have to do all the things he does, you just have to do what you’re good at.”

Anderson’s return for the next game remains uncertain.

Shooting guards Smith and LeTrell Viser finished with 11 points apiece for the Panthers, who will continue their current home stand against Jacksonville State at 3:15 p.m. on Saturday at Lantz Arena.

“Getting through this league isn’t going to be easy,” Spoonhour said. “These home games are important and our guys understand that.”

 

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