Panthers run down Redhawks


Jason Howell

Junior Trae Anderson is fouled by Southeast Missouri’s Isiah Jones during the Panthers’ 73-65 win over the Redhawks on Sunday at Lantz Arena. Anderson scored 17 points during the game. This is the Panthers’ second winning season, with the first in 2001.

Jehad Abbed, Assistant Sports Editor

The Eastern men’s basketball team beat Southeast Missouri State University 73-65 in the Panthers’ last home game of the season Sunday at Lantz Arena.

Junior forward Chris Olivier led all scorers with 20 points on 7-of-11 shooting in 27 minutes on the floor. Olivier and junior forward Trae Anderson combined to score 17 points and outscore the Redhawks (12-16) by 14 points in the second half.

The Panthers (16-12) came out of a timeout with less than eight minutes remaining in the game set up in a zone-defense Eastern coach Jay Spoonhour said they rarely use.

“It was kind of do-or-die time,” Spoonhour said. “It’s just something you try. Every coach does it. You just try something different and sometimes it works.”

Eastern’s defensive stop out of the timeout sparked a 17-3 scoring run to finish and win the game. The Panthers grabbed their first lead of the game with 5:06 remaining in the game when Anderson made a reverse lay-up off an assist from senior guard Dylan Chatman.

Senior forward Josh Piper drew an offensive foul on the Redhawks’ sophomore guard Antonius Cleveland moments after Eastern gained the lead. Piper said he knew it was a big play.

“It really got us energetic,” Piper said. “Everyone was ready to go finish out the game.”

Piper finished with six rebounds and a team-high four assists.

The Panthers trailed Southeast Missouri the entire first half and until there were less than seven minutes left in the game when freshman guard Cornell Johnston sunk a pair of free throws to tie the game at 62.

Senior forward Jarekious Bradley scored five of the Redhawks’s last seven points in the first half to send Southeast Missouri into halftime with a 41-35 lead over the Panthers.

Bradley led both teams with 13 points and seven rebounds on 6-of-8 shooting in the first half. He finished the game with 18 points on 8-of-15 shooting and a game-high 10 rebounds.

The Redhawks started the game with their first 15 points coming by way of the three-point shot.

“They played a small line-up a lot,” Spoonhour said. “It really gave us problems. They were faster than we are.”

Junior guard Isiah Jones connected on his first three attempts from behind the three-point line while scoring the first nine points of the game for Southeast Missouri. Jones scored 12 points on the evening with all of them coming from behind the three-point line. Spoonhour said Chatman was a big reason Jones only made one more shot after his first three.

“(Jones) has really been playing great,” Spoonhour said. “(Chatman) just made a concerted effort to stay in front of (Jones) and not give up many more looks.”

The Redhawks doubled the Panthers’ offensive rebounding totals, which Piper said was a main reason the Panthers struggled early on along with defensive problems.

“(Spoonhour) said if we got back on defense better in the second half then we were going to win the game,” Piper said. “I felt like we did that and we were able to pull It out in the end.”

The Panthers are now 9-6 in the Ohio Valley Conference after starting conference play undefeated through six games that were part of a nine-game winning streak.

“I feel like this is one of the more talented teams we’ve had here,” Piper said. “If we can get to playing like that again, I think we can really make some noise in the conference tournament.”

Eastern faces the top conference team in Murray State University 7 pm Thursday in the CFSB Center in Murray, KY for its last regular season game.


Jehad Abbed can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].