Led by Lewis’s 24 points, Panther win over SIUE


Venkata Poosapati

Junior Ray Crossland tries to stop SIUE’s Henry Jailen from converting a layup Saturday at Lantz Arena. Crossland scored 19 points and added 10 rebounds in Eastern's 75-60 win.

Sean Hastings, Sports Editor

Junior Terrell Lewis just needed a simple reminder from coach Jay Spoonhour that he is a good shooter. Whether by coincidence or if it was the reminder, it sparked Lewis to hit 8 3-pointers en route to a 75-60 win over Southern Illinois Edwardsville Saturday.

For the last few games, Lewis has not shot the ball as well and was not making the shots that he was used to.

“What I told him was that he’s made shots his whole life and not to worry about it,” Spoonhour said. “It really is tough when you’re confidence takes a hit. He had good looks the last game, they just don’t always go in. Jump shots are fickle.”

Lewis was 8-12 from beyond the arc giving him 24 points, tying a career high and setting a career high for 3-pointers made. Lewis added eight assists as well.

He was happy to get the 24 points, getting his scoring touch back, but was just glad they got the much-needed win.

“It feels good. I’m really glad we got the win,” Lewis said. “That’s all I’m really thinking about. I don’t care too much about how many shots I made to be honest with you.”

Lewis’ assist numbers are not what they were in the last two years, and he said the assist numbers feel better than the points. Spoonhour said he was to feel the same way about the points, because they needed that from him.

With the way the Lewis shot the ball from beyond the arc, Eastern was able to turn the table on its opponent since the 3-ball has hurt the Panthers more than it has helped them this year.

And the Panthers needed each of those shots to go in Saturday with the Ohio Valley Conference tournament just seven games away. Eastern is still on the outside of the top four in the OVC West.

Lewis said the mentality going forward is that they need to win every game and it starts on the defensive end.

“Just stay locked it and keep talking to each other,” Lewis said. “Keep picking everybody up and letting them know defense is going to win us games, not offense.”

Eastern also got double digit scoring performances from junior Ray Crossland and senior Demetrius McReynolds.

Driving to the basket is McReynolds’ first instinct; he is more of a catch and shoot type of player, but when he does drive it opens up shots for other players and it gets Eastern much needed points.

“We really need him to get to the rim and he did a great job,” Spoonhour said. “I want him to keep doing that. We did a few things to sort of free him and I think he’ll get better at it. It’s a new thing for him. Now we’re really asking him to go make plays.”

McReynolds scored 16 points and none of them came by way of a 3-pointer.

Looking ahead

The Panthers got some help from Southeast Missouri beating Austin Peay Saturday night.

The Governors are one game ahead of the Panthers in the standing and is a team that Eastern has a good chance of catching if they come out the way they did Saturday against Southern Illinois Edwardsville.

And as Lewis said, the mentality is to win all seven games to close out the regular season to get a higher seed in the tournament. But solid play all around is needed to be able to qualify for the tournament first.

The Panthers will hit the road to take on Tennessee State Thursday.

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