Eastern seeking another upset win over Austin Peay in Tournament


Justin Brown

Muusa Dama celebrates Eastern’s 73-71 win over Tennessee State during Wednesday’s opening round of the OVC Tournament in Evansville, Indiana.

Sean Hastings, Sports Editor

No. 7 Eastern vs. No. 3 Austin Peay- 8:30 p.m. Second round of OVC Tournament 


Eastern and Tennessee State delivered a game that everyone expected. Close and down-to-the-wire. That was how the first two meetings went and the third was no different.

Eastern’s 73-71 win late Wednesday night put the Panthers in the second round against another tough defensive team in Austin Peay.

Playing as the No. 3 seed, the Governors had a first-round bye. Eastern and Austin Peay tipoff at 8:30 in Evansville, Ind.

Austin Peay allows 71.2 points per game and Eastern allows 68.2 points per game. The Panthers score seven points less that the Governors on average.

One of the biggest problems Eastern had Wednesday night was getting into foul trouble. Senior Muusa Dama and junior Aboubacar Diallo played in it all game. Dama fouled out with 7:31 left in the game.

Tennessee State exploited Dama and Diallo in the paint, and while they played hard, coach Jay Spoonhour said, it was not very smart.

The two picked up fouls swatting at the ball instead of staying in front of the Tennessee State scorers.

“We were trying to make plays that were not there,” Spoonhour said. “We had decent defensive possessions and we ended it trying to slap at it.”

Eastern and Austin Peay last time out: 

The Governors came away with a 76-69 win on the Panthers’ home floor. Austin Peay had five players in double figures in the game.

Dayton Gumm scored 15, Terry Taylor scored 14, Averyl Ugba scored 13 and Chris Porter-Bunton and Steve Harris each scored 10.

Eastern’s freshman Mack Smith scored 28 in the game and senior Montell Goodwin scored 17. Both Smith and Goodwin are the Panthers’ leading scorers and received All-OVC honors Tuesday.

Austin Peay scored 41 points in the first half taking an 11-point lead into halftime. While the Panthers, stormed back in the second, the deficit was a bit too much and could not complete the come back.

The Panthers shot 51 percent in the game and Austin Peay shot 51.9 percent.

Eastern and Austin Peay may showcase a similar game to Wednesday night’s.

Other game notes: 

D’Angelo Jackson played just one minute in Wednesday’s game. He was questionable coming in as he sat on the season finale against Southern Illinois Edwardsville Saturday.

In his return to the court Feb. 17, Jackson played 25 minutes in and 20 in the next game. It seemed as if Jackson was back for good with the way he was playing hard and bringing down rebounds and scoring when Eastern needed him to, but things changed quickly.

He scored 13 in his return and 6 in the next game. He had three rebounds in his first game and 10 in the next.

But since then his ankle started bothering him again. Spoonhour said he did not like what he saw last Thursday, so Jackson was pulled after playing just 10 minutes. He did not get back as quick as Spoonhour wanted and struggled to stay in front of guys.

And then Saturday’s game he sat out.

Question that will be answered: 

How will Eastern handle playing two late games in two days.

The Panthers did not leave the Ford Center until after 11 p.m. last night. Throughout the season, besides for non-conference games, Eastern played Thursday-Saturday OVC games.

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