Despite recent lack of success, team chemistry strong for Panthers

Maher Kawash, Men's Basketball Reporter


It is no secret that the Eastern men’s basketball team has had its fair share of struggles as of late, but what some might not realize is how close this Panthers squad is.

After back-to-back conference losses, Panther head coach Jay Spoonhour emphasized how great his players are and how special their bond and chemistry is regardless of the outcome.

It begins with the addition of the newcomers that have clearly added skill on both sides of the court, but seemingly have great locker room personalities according to Spoonhour.

It is no understatement how hard that could be for any team in any sport while wins are hard to come by in any given stretch.

Not to mention the importance of this part of the schedule for Eastern.

The Panthers have won just one of their first five Ohio Valley Conference games, and to add some salt to the wound, the last two came on their home court.

But they are close.

Eastern has either held a first half lead before seeing it slip away as well as seeing a comeback attempt fall just short down the stretch.

Junior college transfer Muusa Dama is one of those newcomers who has made a difference on and off the court as his head coach raved about how smart the 6 foot 9 center is to go with his upbeat personality.

His dominance down low has become a pivotal part of his game and any win that could come the Panthers way, as teammates such as Montell Goodwin emphasized, the importance of feeding Dama to create better shot attempts.

The strong team chemistry also comes from the returning veteran leadership in Terrell Lewis and Demetrius McReynolds.

McReynolds scored a career high 32 points in the loss against Austin Peay, but the first thing he talked about following the game was the team effort.

McReynolds said it is important for him to lead by example as he continues to strive on being the first one in the gym and the last to leave.

That extra time not only leads him to posting career point totals but also easily notching a double-double with 12 rebounds.

Lewis has also led by example starting every game since he came on as a freshman and now officially tied for the all-time assist total in Eastern men’s basketball history.

It is that general team desire to win that has kept Eastern close in these tough losses, but they now try to continue that as it is still early in the conference schedule.

The Panthers get their next shot at a win on the road Thursday at Tennessee-Martin.

Maher Kawash can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]