Men’s basketball team wins 3 straight games

Sean Hastings, Sports Editor

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Freshman guard Logan Koch puts pressure on a St. Francis opponent during the Panthers' 83-41 win Friday, Nov. 11 in Lantz Arena.

Sean Hastings
Freshman guard Logan Koch puts pressure on a St. Francis opponent during the Panthers’ 83-41 win Friday, Nov. 11 in Lantz Arena.

School life may have shut down for a majority of campus, but the men’s basketball team was still full go, and it has got the Panthers back to their winning ways.

After a blowout win to start the season against Saint Francis, the Panthers dropped back-to-back close games with Troy and Saint Louis, but they were able to get revenge on Troy one week later in Lantz Arena.

The three wins Eastern earned this past week were all at home keeping them a perfect 4-0 in Lantz Arena — 5-0 including an exhibition matchup with Eureka College.

Eastern’s losses had one thing in common: the Panthers were alive for only one half in each game.

Eastern dominated for 20 minutes each game, but the struggles in the other 20 minutes of each game were too much for the Panthers to recover from.

The Panthers scored 71, 72 and 73 points in each game, with each half almost identical. Eastern started its win streak with a 73-64 win over Western, which was followed by a 71-67 win over Troy and a 72-62 win over South Alabama.

It is not like Eastern’s offense exploded in any of the games, but it was able to stay consistent enough to win the game.

Guard Demetrius McReynolds is the only senior on the team this year and is one of leaders and did nothing but that this past week. McReynolds went off against Western, scoring a season-high 21 points and grabbing 7 rebounds.

Just one week removed from a close loss to Troy, McReynolds made sure Eastern would not suffer a close loss on its home floor, and he scored 19 points to propel Eastern to its 71-67 win.

And with the 16-point, 6-assist performance from junior guard Montell Goodwin, the Panthers got back to their winning record.

Eastern and Troy were tied at 67 with 1:08 left in the game, but Goodwin hit two clutch free throws with 15 seconds remaining. Troy’s Kevin Baker could not connect on a 3-point attempt, and the Panthers grabbed the rebound and an intentional foul by Devon Walker put junior guard Cornell Johnston at the line.

Johnston hit both free throws to seal the victory.

South Alabama was 5-0 before taking on the Panthers and with another strong performance from Goodwin, Eastern handed the Jaguars their first loss.

Goodwin scored 14 points and had two assists.

The Panthers had a three-point lead at halftime, and a matching 36-point second half and strong defense kept pushing the Jaguars away.

Eastern had a five-point lead with just over five minutes left in the game but turned that into a 13-point lead with 3:01 left in the game.

A big difference in the game was Eastern shooting 45 percent from beyond the arc. Eastern hit 9 out of 20 3-point tries. Goodwin was 3-5 on 3-pointers.

The Panthers’ home stand will continue Tuesday with a match up against Bradley before going on a four-game road trip including trips to Illinois-Chicago Sunday, Northern Kentucky Dec. 7, Western Dec. 10 and Missouri Dec. 17.

Once the Panthers wrap up their road trip, they will take on Fontbonne University before taking on Indiana State to finish off non-conference play.

Eastern opens up its Ohio Valley Conference schedule with Jacksonville State in Lantz Arena.

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