50-point second half by Redhawks downs men’s basketball team


JJ Bullock

Senior Muusa Dama goes up for a right-hand hook in the Panthers’ 86-74 loss to Southeast Missouri Jan. 20 in Lantz Arena. Eastern lost to Belmont 81-59 Thursday on the road.

Sean Hastings, Sports Editor

The Eastern men’s basketball team picked up right where it left off Saturday afternoon following Thursday night’s win.

But after a strong first half, the Panthers went cold offensively and Southeast Missouri took over and eventually turned an 7-point first-half deficit into an 86-74 win over Eastern.

Freshman Mack Smith started the game 4-4 on three point attempts in the first half, scoring 14 total. Senior Montell Goodwin continued to help the Panthers as much as he could, scoring eight points.

The second half was not nice to either Smith or Goodwin. Goodwin was shut down to just 5 points and Smith only hit one more three pointer for his lone three of the half, as well as Eastern’s only three of the second.

After Eastern’s win over Tennessee-Martin Thursday, coach Jay Spoonhour said the Panthers cannot put all their value into scoring. And he brought it up again Saturday after the loss.

“You get worried about that. When you make shots, you think ‘now we don’t have to do those other things, but we do,” Spoonhour said. “Our mindset has to be completely different on the defensive end all the time. We can’t give up (86) points.”

Two players for Southeast Missouri dominated the Panthers and Eastern was not able to find an answer for them.

Redhawks’ big man Justin Carpenter scored 24 points and Daniel Simmons dropped 26 on Eastern. If it was not Carpenter down low and open, it was Simmons hitting one of his five three pointers.

Senior Muusa Dama was tasked with guarding Carpenter down low, and he said he has to do a better job guarding and Eastern, as a team, has to come off and help better.

“He is a real good player,” Dama said. “It’s just coming down from the help side because we were too worried about guards penetrating and going to block shots.”

As far as Simmons goes, he said it was concentration and trying to find him on the court.

“Momentum continues in the game and it’s just up and down and we need to find a way to get concentrated and take what we did in the first half and do it again in the second.”

Eastern’s offense scored a combined 154 points in its last two games, but Spoonhour said the Panthers were not active enough on defense Saturday to be able to stop the Redhawks.

It allowed Carpenter to catch it open and get lay ins.

“The guys guarding Carpenter had to come off, but the fact that you’re getting beat as much as we were, that’s how you give up 50 in a half and we can’t win if we do that,” Spoonhour said.

Eastern had four players in double digits as Smith finished with 17, junior Jajuan Starks had 17, Dama had 16, Goodwin had 13 and senior Ray Crossland had 11.

The Panthers hit the road Thursday to play Belmont then Tennessee State on Saturday.

*Full story to follow in Monday’s edition of The Daily Eastern News*

Sean Hastings can be reached at 581-2812

or [email protected]