Panthers’ shooting ice cold in loss to Bradley

Sean Hastings, Sports Editor

The broken narrative in 2016-2017 for the men’s basketball team was, “our shots just did not fall tonight.”

Coach Jay Spoonhour said it again and again last season and Friday night against Bradley, that story was written again.

Eastern shot just 32.8 percent from the field in a 67-56 loss to Bradley, which shot 52.2 percent from the field and had four players score in double digits. Eastern’s 32.8 percent is the worst percentage it has posted this season.

Spoonhour credited Bradley’s tough defensive style and rebounding ability to why it was able to shut down Eastern.

“They don’t just give you anything,” Spoonhour said. “I thought they did a good job of doing what they are good at.”

Eastern’s leading scorer and rebounder Jajuan Starks was held to just four points and brought down five rebounds. He said going into the game about how good Bradley was at rebounding.

And even just seven games into his Eastern career, teams are finding ways to stop Starks and Spoonhour let him and the team know that before the game.

“These are the kinds of things that happen now,” Spoonhour said. “You’re not going to be able to just float around and get easy stuff. He’s had six (out of seven) really good games. I thought Bradley did a good job defending him and that’s the kind of thing he has to get used to.”

The Panthers brought down 30 rebounds, with 15 of those being offensive. Spoonhour said Eastern did a good job of hanging with the Braves.

“That’s a big deal for us,” Spoonhour said about the Panthers bringing down 15 offensive rebounds. “They got more rebounds because we just shot it so awful.”

The Panthers shot 4-23 from beyond the arc, helping Bradley boost is defensive rebounding stats as it ended the game with 30.

The Panthers managed to stay alive in the first hit despite the display of poor shooting throughout the game. Eastern trailed just 25-22 at the end of the first half, but Bradley jumped out to a double-digit lead in the second half and kept it that way for nearly the whole half.

“The key was that they laid it in and got offensive boards in the second half,” Spoonhour said. “They did a good job of taking it to the goal.”

Eastern shot jumpers early and its 4-23 from beyond the arc and 32.8 percent shooting is enough to show it did not work for Eastern.

A bright spot for Eastern in the game; however, was Terrell Lewis scoring his 1,000th career point, becoming the 37th player in Eastern history to accomplish the feat.

Lewis finished the game with 13 points and three assists and is just three assists away for 500 for his career.

The Panthers dropped to 2-5 and Bradley inmproved its season record to 7-1 with the win.

Eastern  has Ohio Valley Conference play looming in the coming weeks.

Eastern opens up OVC play on the road at Murray State Dec. 28.

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