Road games not a concern for Panthers

Junior+guard+LeTrell+Viser+eyes+the+basket+during+the+Panthers%27+73-62+win+over+Southeast+Missouri+on+Feb.+22+at+Lantz+Arena.+Viser+scored+five+points+during+the+game.+The+Panthers+will+face+Southern+Illinois-Edwardsville+in+the+first+round+of+the+Ohio+Valley+Conference+tournament+on+Wednesday+at+8+p.m.+at+Municipal+Auditorium+in+Nashville%2C+Tenn.

Jason Howell

Junior guard LeTrell Viser eyes the basket during the Panthers' 73-62 win over Southeast Missouri on Feb. 22 at Lantz Arena. Viser scored five points during the game. The Panthers will face Southern Illinois-Edwardsville in the first round of the Ohio Valley Conference tournament on Wednesday at 8 p.m. at Municipal Auditorium in Nashville, Tenn.

Jehad Abbed, Assistant Sports Editor

The Eastern men’s basketball team has a 6-8 away-game record and a 1-1 record when they play at a neutral site.

The Panthers finished in the regular season in the middle of the Ohio Valley Conference standings this year winning nine of their 16 games against conference opponents.

Eastern finished the season leading the OVC with the least points allowed at an average of 62 per game. Eastern Kentucky University was the second best defense overall allowing 63.3 points per game.

Eastern gave up 80 points in its second matchup with its future round-1 OVC conference tournament pairing in Southern Illinois-Edwardsville. Eastern coach Jay Spoonhour said there was not a nice way to say they got beat.

“They kicked our tail,” he said. “There wasn’t any two ways around it.”

Overwhelming crowds can be an issue during games on the road, which is a reason teams traditionally prefer to play on their own court.

Spoonhour said the OVC tournament should not be much of a problem as far as the concern for home or away crowds goes.

“We’ve been pretty good on the road,” He said. “There won’t be a huge crowd advantage in this game like if we were to play Murray or Belmont.”

Murray State University sits in Murray, Ky. less than two hours from Nashville where Belmont University is along with the OVC tournament in the Nashville Municipal Auditorium.

 

Panthers back to full health

 

Eastern had only four members of the men’s basketball team play in all 29 games of the regular season.

Senior guard Dylan Chatman, senior forward Josh Piper, junior guard LeTrell Viser and freshman guard Cornell Johnston were the only Eastern players to see the floor in every game this season.

Eastern started off 6-0 in OVC play when it was playing with a nearly full or full lineup. Spoonhour said he would have liked to see what the team could have done in the regular season if the Panthers had their full lineup all the time.

“We’ve had guys miss with injuries and sickness,” Spoonhour said. “We are feeling a little bit better about where we are now.”

The Panthers’ leading scorers in junior forwards Trae Anderson and Chris Olivier missed a combined nine games during the season.

Anderson missed three games with and ankle injury and Olivier missed six games after being diagnosed with Mononucleosis days after losing their first conference game at the hand of the OVC champion Murray State.

Senior guard Reggie Smith missed two games while dealing with sickness and junior guard Luke Norman has missed a stretch of games to finish out the season.

Johnston leads the Panthers in minutes played at 997, which is 200 more than Chatman, who is the second most played member for Eastern.

Johnston is the 3rd best assist man in the conference with 4.3 per game and boasts the 4th most minutes played for the OVC. He is the only freshman making the list of the top-10 minutes played in the conference.

 

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