Panthers lose 4th guard to injury

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Panthers lose 4th guard to injury

Redshirt junior guard throws up a layup high off the backboard at the end of the shot clock in Eastern’s 79-71 win over Tennessee Tech Saturday in Lantz Arena. Wilson injured his left hand in the game and is out the rest of the season. He is the fourth point guard to be injured this year.

Redshirt junior guard throws up a layup high off the backboard at the end of the shot clock in Eastern’s 79-71 win over Tennessee Tech Saturday in Lantz Arena. Wilson injured his left hand in the game and is out the rest of the season. He is the fourth point guard to be injured this year.

Sean Hastings

Redshirt junior guard throws up a layup high off the backboard at the end of the shot clock in Eastern’s 79-71 win over Tennessee Tech Saturday in Lantz Arena. Wilson injured his left hand in the game and is out the rest of the season. He is the fourth point guard to be injured this year.

Sean Hastings

Sean Hastings

Redshirt junior guard throws up a layup high off the backboard at the end of the shot clock in Eastern’s 79-71 win over Tennessee Tech Saturday in Lantz Arena. Wilson injured his left hand in the game and is out the rest of the season. He is the fourth point guard to be injured this year.

Sean Hastings, Sports Editor

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Somehow, the bad luck continued and things have gotten worse for the Eastern men’s basketball team.

The potentially great story of Eastern’s former team manager turned walk-on point guard, will have to wait to be finished next year. Redshirt sophomore point guard Shawn Wilson suffered a fractured hand in Eastern’s win Saturday and is out the rest of the season.

Coach Jay Spoonhour confirmed the news Monday.

He is the fourth point guard Eastern lost to injury this season. Three out of four guards are out of the season.

Spoonhour described Eastern’s situation as being not “real life.”

The Panthers lost senior starting point guard Terrell Lewis Dec. 6 to an ankle injury. Lewis is redshirting the remainder of the season. Twenty-four days later, they lost D’Angelo Jackson, also to an ankle injury, but is supposed to return at some point this season. Third-string point guard Logan Koch strained his calf Jan. 27, and he is done for the year.

Then Monday the devastating blow of losing Wilson was delivered.

Toward the end of the game, Wilson could be seen grimacing at his left hand, but it was not until Monday where Spoonhour and Wilson received confirmation that he fractured his hand and is out the rest of the season.

Spoonhour said Wilson noticed swelling in his left hand and had pain Sunday, so he went to get an X-Ray.

The news comes two days after Wilson played 27 minutes in the Panthers’ 79-71 win over Tennessee Tech, where Spoonhour said Eastern would not have won that game without Wilson.

Having Wilson play the way he did on Saturday enabled senior Montell Goodwin and freshman Mack Smith to open themselves up for open shots and score off of Wilson’s six assists.

“When Silk (Goodwin) is having to handle it, it’s hard for him, because he can’t score and create (at the same time),” Spoonhour said following the win Saturday. “Now when you have someone that can kind of let Silk stand up there and maybe shoot some, that helps.”

Spoonhour spoke highly of Wilson following the loss, saying that he did not want him to get too proud about the way he played because Eastern still had six games left, making it seem that Wilson may be playing a larger role moving forward.

Wilson only played 39 minutes combined before playing 27 Saturday and showcased speed and ability to drive past Tennessee Tech’s defenders and finished two plays at the rim on a winding down shot clock.

Those were the two plays the Spoonhour remembered the most, he said.

And for Smith, who also was forced to step into a larger role this season, said the reason the Panthers were able to pull out the win was because of chemistry. The fluidity of the offense was something that has been absent in recent games.

But Saturday Eastern scored 50 points in the second half, but now is faced with the road block of not having another point guard moving forward.

“(Saturday’s game) shows a lot,” Smith said. “It shows a lot of teams what they have coming with EIU and we just have to maintain that.”

The Panthers play a pivotal game on the road at Southern Illinois Edwardsville Thursday. Eastern and the Cougars are tied for the No. 8 spot in the OVC with matching 4-8 records.

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