Eastern men’s basketball team drops 2nd-straight game

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Eastern men’s basketball team drops 2nd-straight game

Junior guard Montell Goodwin shoots a free throw during the Panthers' 83-41 win over St. Francis Friday, Nov. 11, in Lantz Arena. Goodwin made 1 of 2 free throws during the game.

Junior guard Montell Goodwin shoots a free throw during the Panthers' 83-41 win over St. Francis Friday, Nov. 11, in Lantz Arena. Goodwin made 1 of 2 free throws during the game.

Sean Hastings

Junior guard Montell Goodwin shoots a free throw during the Panthers' 83-41 win over St. Francis Friday, Nov. 11, in Lantz Arena. Goodwin made 1 of 2 free throws during the game.

Sean Hastings

Sean Hastings

Junior guard Montell Goodwin shoots a free throw during the Panthers' 83-41 win over St. Francis Friday, Nov. 11, in Lantz Arena. Goodwin made 1 of 2 free throws during the game.

Sean Hastings, Sports Editor

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Eastern built off its strong second half against Troy on Monday in the first half against Saint Louis Thursday, but the Billikens turned the tables on the Panthers in the second half and took away a 74-69 win.

The Panthers scored 44 points in the first half and held Saint Louis to just 33, but Eastern scored just 25 points in the second half, and the Billikens pulled away.

The Panthers turned the ball over only 12 times in the game, but the eight turnovers led to six points for Saint Louis.

Eastern shot 52.9 percent in the first half and were 8-16 from beyond the arc, but both those stats fell apart in the second half.

Eastern shot just 23.5 percent and hit only 2 of 11 3-pointers.

Junior guard Cornell Johnston was 4-8 on 3-pointers and scored 18 points.

Junior Muusa Dama dominated in the paint for the Panthers grabbing 15 rebounds, contributing to Eastern’s 37 which matched Saint Louis.

But the Saint Louis big men made a huge difference in the paint.

The teams may have been even in rebounds, but Saint Louis scored 36 points in the paint, and Eastern scored just 20.

To start the second half, the Billikens came out on a 21-4 run in just 8:37, which included scoring the first 15 points of the half.

Eastern followed that up with an 11-3 run, but just a minute later, but Davell Roby hit a 3-pointer to give Saint Louis the lead again.

After such a strong start to the season, the Panthers have lost back-to-back close games.

But the same problem was present in both games: Eastern could only produce one solid half.

Against Troy it was the slow start the kept the Panthers behind for too long, and the slow start to the second half against Saint Louis turned an 11-point lead into a six-point deficit pretty quick.

The Billikens had four players core in double digits with Roby and Reggie Agbeko each with 18 points. Jermaine Bishop scored 14 points for Saint Louis, and Elliott Welmer scored 15.

The next leading scorer for Saint Louis was Jalen Johnson with 5 points.

The Panthers trailed for much of the first half until they tied it at 28, and that is when they went on a 16-5 run to end the half.

And that is the thing that stands out the most with this new Panther team.

To expect perfect play from the team this early in the season would be crazy, but when the Panthers do play well that is what shows what the team is capable of.

The Panthers will return home for four games in a row where the Panthers started the season 2-0.

Eastern will host Western Saturday, Troy on Monday, South Alabama Nov. 26 and Bradley on Nov. 29.

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