Panthers drop 2nd straight game

Junior+Trae+Anderson+is+defended+by+two+Austin+Peay+opponents+during+the+Panthers%27+56-52+loss+against+the+Governors+on+Saturday+in+Lantz+Arena.++The+Panthers+fall+to+6-2++in+the+OVC.++Anderson+led+the+Panthers+with+22+points+during+the+game.
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Panthers drop 2nd straight game

Junior Trae Anderson is defended by two Austin Peay opponents during the Panthers' 56-52 loss against the Governors on Saturday in Lantz Arena.  The Panthers fall to 6-2  in the OVC.  Anderson led the Panthers with 22 points during the game.

Junior Trae Anderson is defended by two Austin Peay opponents during the Panthers' 56-52 loss against the Governors on Saturday in Lantz Arena. The Panthers fall to 6-2 in the OVC. Anderson led the Panthers with 22 points during the game.

Jason Howell

Junior Trae Anderson is defended by two Austin Peay opponents during the Panthers' 56-52 loss against the Governors on Saturday in Lantz Arena. The Panthers fall to 6-2 in the OVC. Anderson led the Panthers with 22 points during the game.

Jason Howell

Jason Howell

Junior Trae Anderson is defended by two Austin Peay opponents during the Panthers' 56-52 loss against the Governors on Saturday in Lantz Arena. The Panthers fall to 6-2 in the OVC. Anderson led the Panthers with 22 points during the game.

Blake Nash, Staff Reporter

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The Eastern men’s basketball team lost its second straight game, 56-52, to Austin Peay on Saturday in Lantz Arena.

Eastern coach Jay Spoonhour said that the Panthers cannot let this bad stretch snowball on them so that they can bounce back.

“Teams go through these ups and downs during the year. No one is immune from it,” Spoonhour said. “We’ve been fortunate early in the year that we’ve had games where we didn’t play well, but we still won.”

Junior forward Trae Anderson led the Panthers with 22 points and six rebounds, before fouling out with 21 seconds remaining. It was the first time this season he reached 20 points in a game.

“He had more opportunities because we posted him up more,” Spoonhour said. “They did a good job guarding him, and I’ll tell you it’s not an easy job trying to score over Chris Horton.”

Senior center Chris Horton led the Governors with 12 points and 12 rebounds for a double-double. He also had two blocks for his team

Spoonhour said the Panthers cannot turn the ball over so many times in a small possession game. He said the Panthers were lucky to be still be in the game as many times as they turned it over.

“They started making plays at the defensive end of the ball,” freshman point guard Cornell Johnston said. “Next week we’ve just got to get better on defense and value the ball more.”

The Panthers had 19 total turnovers.

Junior forward Chris Olivier did not play because of an illness. However, Spoonhour acknowledged that his team has played fine without Olivier before.

“When you go to somebody as much as we go to him, it impacts it,” Spoonhour said. “Other guys stepped up and made plays like Trae Anderson. He stepped right in there and played fine.”

The Governors started the game off with an 11-3 run forcing Spoonhour to call a timeout. Johnston said in the huddle that Spoonhour told his players they needed to guard better.

On the next Austin Peay possession, senior forward Keenen Anderson made a block for Eastern, which led to a LeTrell Viser layup at the other end. That started a 16-6 run for the Panthers, who would not lose the lead the rest of the half.

“That was a good block by (Anderson) and it got us going,” Johnston said.

Johnston was the only other Panther to finish with double-digit points. He had 11 points for the day and eight assists, as well as four rebounds.

“They were physical and tough, and did a good job pressuring (Johnston),” Spoonhour said. “So, they came in and won the game. You’ve got to give them credit.”

The Panthers led 29-20 at the half, and started the second half with back-to-back baskets by Anderson and Luke Piotrowski. The Governors responded with a 13-3 run after a timeout.

A jumper by senior forward Ed Dyson at the 10:20 mark gave them the lead for the next seven minutes until a layup by Anderson gave the Panthers their last lead of the game 49-48.

Dyson would hit a free throw at the 1:35 mark to give the Governors the lead for good.

Dyson finished with 14 points and four rebounds.

“This is a bad stretch for us and you can’t worry about it,” Spoonhour said. “You just have to figure out what was working. ‘Why aren’t we doing the stuff that was working? How do we get back to the stuff that was working?”

Eastern looks to improve things by Thursday when they travel to Tennessee-Martin for a 6:30 p.m. game in Martin, Tenn.

 

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