Upset bid falls short for Eastern: Marquette tops Eastern 86-83 in overtime thriller

Sean Hastings, Sports Editor

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Monday night’s loss to Marquette for the Eastern men’s basketball team left coach Jay Spoonhour feeling sick.

Not because the Panthers played awful, but because they played so well and came so close to knocking off Big East Marquette. The Golden Eagles held on for an 86-83 overtime win.

“Marquette made some good plays at the end. They did a good job and they won the game,” Spoonhour said. “But we did some really good things. (The players) all feel bad, but I said ‘look what we’ve done in one week.”

One week ago the Panthers left San Diego State with a 94-63 with a different type of sick feeling. A feeling that was sick because Eastern did not play well.

Spoonhour described that feeling as “putrid.”

Eastern made it through arguably the toughest stretch of the season with a 2-4 record, 3-5 including the two exhibition games, which were equally as tough.

The Panthers went into November knowing how tough its schedule was going to be and even though they only came away with one win in the toughest of games, they still made a name for themselves in the OVC and the NCAA, as well.

The Panthers opened November with an exhibition win over Big Ten Illinois, a four-point regular season opening loss to Big Ten Nebraska, the bad 94-63 loss to Mountain West San Diego, but ended November with an 86-83 overtime loss to Big East Marquette Monday on the road.

Jajuan Starks scored 27 points for a season high, but Marquette’s Sam Hauser gave Marquette just enough to give it the win in overtime with 30 points.

Besides Hauser, Eastern was dealt the task of having to guard Andrew Rowsey who was averaging 24 points coming into the game.

Eastern, Terrell Lewis in particular, limited him to just one shot in the first half, with his four points coming at the free throw line.

Rowsey had four inches and 30 pounds on Lewis.

Spoonhour said Lewis had a gutsy performance.

“He played for 44 minutes and chased that kid (Rowsey) all over the floor and just would not get tired,” Spoonhour said. Flat out would not get tired. He is like a little piece of wire. Those guys screening him are 250 pounds and he’s clipping off them. He weighs as much as one of their legs.”

Lewis was bouncing off the players that tried to screen him and stayed with Rowsey, Spoonhour said.

“If you watched last week, Marquette play in Hawaii, (Rowsey) was baking everybody a cake. I mean every team. They went at him and he was scoring all of them.”

Marquette never led in the second half, but tied the game with just nine seconds left when senior Muusa Dama fouled Hauser to send him to the line to hit two free throws and send the game to overtime.

Dama picked up his fifth foul on the play and Eastern had to go into overtime without him as he fouled out.

Eastern ended up playing the chasing game throughout overtime, having to find an answer for Marquette’s late push. It came close, but did not have enough answers.

Senior Montell Goodwin matched a three-pointer right off the bat, but Eastern could not get it knotted back up.

With seven seconds left, D’Angelo Jackson tried to bully his way to the basket, but his layup attempt for the lead was blocked and Marquette and Eastern had to foul.

The Panthers had two chances at the end to make a three-pointer to tie it, but what Marquette would consider a smart play, had to be frustrating for Eastern.

Instead of shooting up three-pointers in hopes to tie it, the Golden Eagles intentionally fouled Eastern to put them at the line for a max of two free throws.

They did it twice and it sealed the win.

Eastern made it out of November alive and now moves on to December where it just has a couple weeks before OVC play starts.

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