Panthers planning guard-less life after losing 3 players

Sean Hastings, Sports Editor

The Panthers have lost three players in the same position this season leaving coach Jay Spoonhour at a loss for words on how to describe what has happened to the Eastern men’s basketball team.

Sophomore Logan Koch left Saturday’s game with a strained calf, senior Terrell Lewis is pursuing a redshirt for the remainder of the season and D’Angelo Jackson has been out with an ankle injury, but may return soon.

With three point guards out, the last thing Spoonhour wants the Panthers doing is dwelling on it.

“They know the deal,” Spoonhour said. “But you don’t want to dwell on ‘woe is us,’ because we’ve got injuries. You don’t ever need that kind of mentality with your team.”

Freshman Mack Smith has four straight double digit scoring games after setting a season-high 22 in Eastern’s win over Tennessee-Martin on Jan. 18.

Smith’s minutes have also increased since stepping into a bigger role. He not only scored crucial points for the Panthers, but he has also brought down at least five rebounds over the last four games.

Despite strong offensive performances from Smith, the team still struggles with shooting, which is causing a league worst in field goal percentage.

Smith said he wants to bring home wins for the players that have been sidelined as a result of injury.

“Even though they can’t play, I know they wish to be out there going, playing hard and letting out blood sweat and tears with their brothers,” Smith said. “We just have to come ready to play.”

Spoonhour does not want to put pressure on someone to “save the day” now that three guards are out, but he may have to turn to freshman walk-on Shawn Wilson. Wilson has played only 26 minutes this season, but Spoonhour has faith in him.

“He’s ready if we need him,” Spoonhour said. “He’s a quick guard and if he’s needed to play, he’ll be ready.”

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