Notebook: Eastern men’s basketball team in 8th place in conference


Bryan Bund

Eastern freshman guard Ben Harvey shoots a contested shot in a 104-60 loss to Fort Wayne on Nov. 28. Eastern is in 8th place in the Ohio Valley Conference.

Oscar Rzodkiewicz, Men's Basketball Reporter

The top two men’s basketball squads of the Ohio Valley Conference suffered their first losses of the year this week, but Eastern did not manage to gain any ground after falling as well.

The Panthers (3-5) suffered their third straight loss on Saturday to Chicago State by a 80-72  tally.

Sophomore guard Josiah Wallace poured in 18 points while playing the entire 40 minutes of game time, but a 20-4 run by Chicago State to open the half left Eastern behind.

The Panthers find themselves in a tie for eighth place in the conference, looking to rebound with a game Tuesday at 7 p.m. to Fontbonne University.

Meanwhile, at the top of the standings, the reigning champion Murray State (4-1) fell in a tight 78-72 bout with Alabama last Monday.

Sophomore Ja Morant posted 38 points, 9 boards and 5 assists in 40 minutes of play, but Crimson Tide freshman Kira Lewis Jr.’s 17 second half scores helped propel Alabama to the win.

Morant was named OVC Player of the Week for his efforts, as he posted a 25-point, 11-board double-double against Prairie View to help the Racers bounce back with an 83-67 win.

Alabama head coach and former NBA player Avery Johnson discussed Morant with the Associated Press after the game, saying, “He’s a dynamic player. I can clearly understand why on some mock drafts he’s trending as a lottery pick.”

Morant soared on ESPN’s NBA mock draft, moving into the top 10 after the performance.

Murray State takes on Middle Tennessee on Saturday at 8 p.m.

Currently leading the conference is Belmont, despite the team going just 1-1 in games last week.

The Bruins (6-1) managed a victory in overtime on Thursday to Samford 99-93, but they fell to Green Bay just a few days later with a final score of 100-92.

Belmont led by three going into halftime against Green Bay, but 2-of-18 clip from beyond the arc in the second half did in the Bruins.

Belmont looks to get back on the winning path with a contest tonight at 7 p.m. with Lipscomb.

Do not look now, but Jacksonville State continues to climb up the standings after posting its third and fourth straight wins last week.

The Gamecocks (4-3) routed Carver College 101-61 on Wednesday before defeating North Alabama over the weekend.

Senior Marlon Hunter led the way for Jacksonville State with 23 points on 14 shots against UNA.

Jacksonville State moved to fourth in the conference with the wins and can inch closer to the top 10 with a win against Delaware State on Saturday at 3 p.m.

Oscar Rzodkiewicz can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]