Men’s basketball team lacking offensive leadership


Justin Brown

Senior point guard Montell Goodwin drives into the lane against Tennessee State defenders Thursday at Lantz Arena. Goodwin had 17 points in the loss. It was his ninth straight double-digit scoring game.

Maher Kawash, Basketball Reporter

The Eastern men’s basketball team is ailing with injuries to some vital players, and it is hurting in many ways offensively.

Leg injuries to Terrell Lewis and D’Angelo Jackson have depleted the Panthers of a viable shot creator.

The lack of spacing in the absence of those two has been seen through the forced shots taken by the rest of the offense.

It is worth noting that effort is no issue here.

Eastern shows that tough grit in each game, and that was also the case in Thursday’s matchup against Tennessee State.

The Panthers pried their way to the paint on countless possessions, drawing fouls, as the jumpers just were not falling.

But that is where Lewis and Jackson are missed so much.

Lewis’ ability to nail the three-point shot or drive to the lane right before dishing the flashy pass to his teammates on the perimeter is no longer there.

Jackson is six-foot-four, but on the court, he plays like a six-foot-ten big man, consistently collapsing the paint on his drives and finishing contested lay-ins.

It is simple; they create plays.

In the Panthers’ game against Tennessee State, it was not pretty most of the time, but they hung in there before faltering late in the 69-65 loss.

At times, Eastern could not buy a made basket such as the four-minute stretch at the end of the first half where the team mustered just two points.

But then at other times, the Panthers showed some minor life with a 5-0 run to start the second half.

That overall consistency is lacking and that kind of speaks to the overall theme of this season for Eastern.

“At ends of games you have to step up and make plays, the reality of it is they did and we didn’t,” Eastern coach Jay Spoonhour said,

The loss stings, but there are positives to note such as the play of Montell Goodwin and Jujuan Starks.

Goodwin has continued to handle the ball most of the time for Eastern, all while being the team’s go-to scorer with another 17 points Thursday night.

This is all something he is accustomed to though.

“I feel comfortable. I’m used to playing point guard, but I’m just trying to help my team by getting rebounds and assists, too,” Goodwin said.

Starks plays much like Jackson in a way where he wills himself to the paint regardless of the size of his opponent, and against Tennessee State it led to 11 points, seven of which coming from free throws.

That type of play will need to continue as the Panthers try to reel some wins in through the core of this conference schedule.

The bad news, though, is that the competition is not letting up anytime soon as conference-favorite Belmont comes to town Saturday night.

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