Men’s basketball season gets underway at home


Justin Brown

Casey Teson, a sophomore gaurd defends the dribble from a Eureka gaurd Sunday at Lantz Arena. Teson scored nine points going 3-10 from the field and 1-5 from three point range.

Sean Hastings, Sport's Editor

The men’s basketball team will be in the final event in an evening of Eastern athletics competing at Lantz with its home opener against the St. Francis Fighting Saints in Lantz Arena.

The Panthers won their exhibition contest against Eureka College on Sunday in blowout fashion, 94-58, but based off last year, St. Francis is a much tougher team.

“We’re really excited after having a three-point game (last year),” junior guard Cornell Johnston said. “I remember it being close and we had a guy make some free throws at the end of the game to seal the deal.”

“But we’re really excited coming into this game with new pieces and players just working hard all week. I feel like we’ll be ready this Friday.”

Johnston is one of the set pieces in this Panthers’ lineup having been the starting point guard the past two seasons and he has continued to lead the team into this year.

Johnston will be seeing less playing time this year, compared to his usual 35 plus minutes last season and he feels the less playing time will help him and the team.

“It allows me to put more pressure on the ball,” he said. “Last year we’re playing 40 minutes and we couldn’t play the style of play we wanted to play. It’s going to allow me to put pressure on the ball and get breaks in between.”

It’s early in the season, but from junior wing Ray Crossland, junior guard Montell Goodwin, to junior forward Muusa Dama, the Panthers are already starting to gel and get used to playing with each other.

Eastern coach Jay Spoonhour said that kind of stuff takes time before everything is put into place, but as of right now, Johnston feels the team is bonding well and things are working well.

Johnston said the chemistry is where it is at because the Panthers bond off the court as well.

Eastern will take the court at 7:30 Friday night against an upperclassman-filled St. Francis roster. Each of the five starters for St. Francis is a senior and the three main players to come off the bench are juniors.

The Fighting Saints had just one freshman play over 10 minutes in their home opener, but he only attempted two shots.

Things are not too different for Eastern as the have just one freshman on the roster in Logan Koch, so the rest of the team has multiple years of college experience.

Sean Hastings can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]