Stopping three-point shot key for men’s basketball team

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Stopping three-point shot key for men’s basketball team

Senior Ray Crossland throws a pass around Belmont’s Seth Adelsperger in the Panthers’ 75-66 loss Jan. 13 in Lantz Arena.

Senior Ray Crossland throws a pass around Belmont’s Seth Adelsperger in the Panthers’ 75-66 loss Jan. 13 in Lantz Arena.

Sean Hastings

Senior Ray Crossland throws a pass around Belmont’s Seth Adelsperger in the Panthers’ 75-66 loss Jan. 13 in Lantz Arena.

Sean Hastings

Sean Hastings

Senior Ray Crossland throws a pass around Belmont’s Seth Adelsperger in the Panthers’ 75-66 loss Jan. 13 in Lantz Arena.

Sean Hastings, Sports Editor

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 Belmont hitting 13 three-pointers on the Panthers Jan. 13 was nothing out of the ordinary for the Bruins.

That was the reason why Belmont was able to cruise past the Eastern men’s basketball team to a 75-66 win. Eastern had the paint on lock down for much of the game, as over 50 percent of Belmont’s points came from beyond the arc.

Immediately following the game, coach Jay Spoonhour said he was satisfied with how the Panthers handled the Bruins in shooting threes, but after looking at the stats more, he thought different.

In OVC play this season, the Bruins have made 14 threes on three occasions, 13 once, 11 once, 10 twice and seven once.

Eastern is tasked with the three-point loving Bruins Thursday at 7 p.m. on the road for the first of a two-game Nashville road trip.

No team in the OVC even comes close to the number of threes Belmont has taken, and by nature, it has also made the most by a wide margin. Belmont is 242-651 from beyond the arc and Southeast Missouri is the only team threatening to have similar numbers as it is 191-493.

“Hitting threes is what they do,” Spoonhour said. “You try to limit them as much as you can.”

When the Bruins drive to the basket and get layup opportunities, they make them. The 29 points they scored there on the Panthers shows that.

Spoonhour said the problems arise because Austin Luke and Kevin McClain do a good job of driving “downhill,” and are able to kick it back out for a three-point shot.

Luke ended up with 12 assists that night because Eastern buckled down and prepared for him to finish at the rim.

“When (Luke) kicks it out, you have to run at those guys and keep them from getting it off,” Spoonhour said. “Everybody has the same plan and it’s the matter of doing it. They have good offensive players.”

Eastern will not be able to prevent Belmont from shooting threes, but Spoonhour said he wants the Panthers to make sure that when they run out to stop the three-point shot, Belmont does not drive past them for a lay in.

“The threes they take, you want to make them hard as you can make them and limit the number of times they try,” Spoonhour said. “That’s where Bouba (junior Aboubacar Diallo) and Muusa (senior Muusa Dama) come in. We have the pieces to try and pull this off.”

Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. in Belmont.

Injury update

Some of Eastern’s woes have come with the absence of senior Terrell Lewis and junior D’Angelo Jackson, but Jackson may return as early as next week, Spoonhour said.

For Lewis however, he has decided to pursue a redshirt for the remainder of the season and come back in 2018-2019 as a redshirt senior.

Lewis played in eight games this season before being injured, which is one less than the maximum number to declare a redshirt.

Spoonhour said it is going to still be a while for Lewis.

“T is going to have to be reevaluated again,” Spoonhour said. “He’s still recovering and with the number of the games, he has decided to pursue a redshirt and come back next year.”

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