Spoonhour: Eureka is just one step for team


File Photo

Mack Smith drives for a layup during Eastern’s 80-60 victory over Tennessee-Martin on Jan. 18 in Lantz Arena.

Dillan Schorfheide, Assistant Sports Editor

Jay Spoonhour is not expecting Friday’s exhibition match against Eureka College to be the end-all-be-all for the upcoming basketball season.

The men’s team’s head coach does expect the contest to help his team improve on some aspects, but as far as feathering everything out, or finding a starting lineup for the rest of the season goes, he does not expect Friday’s game to be the answer.

There were some things Spoonhour noticed from the team’s scrimmage last week that he wants the team to improve upon going into this season.

“We fouled way too much, we didn’t stand firm in front of them well enough, we didn’t guard well enough,” he said. “You know, it’s the first time we played with any sort of officials, and so you play differently when you’re playing in the summer time or in pickup, so you have to change the way you play a bit before officiating.”

That, as much as anything, is what needs improvement on the defensive side, Spoonhour said.

Offensively, he said the team needs better cohesion.

“For the longest time, you just play and if you have a good shot you just take it,” Spoonhour said. “Well, you got to start thinking, ‘Okay, what are we trying to do with it, where’s the ball, who needs to shoot it, where’s our best shot.”

Spoonhour said all those things come from thinking as a group.

“When you got a lot of new guys, the hardest thing to get them to do is to think as a unit because they just met each other,” he said. “Thinking for somebody else, that’s the trick.”

That cohesion is something that he said will take all year for the team to work out. Sometimes the cohesion is good, and sometimes it is not, Spoonhour said. 

Everyone is doing a good job of playing hard, Spoonhour said, but there are still a lot of mistakes being made.

At media day last week, one thing Spoonhour said is that the team has a lot of depth, and that the players on the team can play multiple positions, but Friday will not be the sole decider of figuring out a starting lineup for the season.

“You’re not to that point yet,” Spoonhour said. “Guys have got to learn how to play with restrictions and how to play with a new set of instructions that they’ve ever had, some are doing better than others. But there are some good players that are going to play more as the season goes on, who just haven’t figured out what to do yet.”

With all that taken into account, Spoonhour said that Friday’s game is just one step to put everything together for February and March.

Eastern will be Eureka’s first exhibition match for its season, but the Red Devils did have some competition in October, when the team played three games in Ontario for its Canadian Exhibition Tour.

Last season, the Red Devils were 18-8 overall and 13-5 in the St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.  

The game will start at 7 p.m. Friday in Lantz Arena.

Dillan Schorfheide can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].