Men’s basketball remains undefeated at Lantz Arena


Adam Tumino | The Daily Eastern News

Eastern guard Marvin Johnson attempts a layup against Tennessee Tech Jan. 18 at Lantz Arena. Johnson had six points and four assists in an 84-59 win for the Panthers.

Blake Faith, Men's Basketball Reporter

Eastern’s men’s basketball team defended their unbeaten record at Lantz Arena defeating Tennessee Tech 84-59 winning their second straight game and conference game. Junior guard Kashawn Charles led the Panthers in scoring with 23 points shooting 63% from the three-point line for the game.

The first four minutes of the game saw no team score a point, but after falling behind 5-2 Panther jnior Jordan Skipper-Brown took initiative in the paint scoring six straight points in the paint that would give the Panthers the lead for the remainder of the game.

In the first half. Charles picked up where he left off Thursday night. Coming off the bench for the second straight game at home, Charles quickly got himself going scoring five straight points after inserted.

Charles led the Panthers in first half scoring with 13 points, shot 3-4 from the three-point line, and converted on a left-handed finger roll over two defenders while only playing eight minutes in the first half.

“Coach has been telling me to shoot the ball, look for touches, and be more aggressive,” Charles said. “That was my mindset coming into games lately and today. I just wanted to be more aggressive and look for my shot more.”

Junior Mack Smith regained himself after a poor shooting night against Jacksonville State. Smith found his rhythm early shooting 3-5 from the three-point line, scoring 11 points in the first half and increased his streak to 67 consecutive games with a three-pointer made.

“Me being a competitor is just that I have to keep shooting,” Smith said. “That’s what Coach is putting me out there for to keep finding open shot, keep shooting good shots, but the hard work is on the off court.”Smith also said, “It (the streak) feels good and it’s just a blessing. Showing that my hard work really pays off and no matter what I do it keeps going.

The Panthers outscored the Golden Eagles 43-29 in the first half. Defensively, the Panthers held the Golden Eagles to 9-22 shooting while giving up 17 first half points to Jr. Clay.

Midway through the second half the Golden Eagles went on an 11-2 run making three straight three-pointers to pull within 10 points. The Panthers responded with an 8-0 run to put the Panthers up 71-53 with less than four minutes left in the game.

“We relax and get hopeful and being hopeful in a game is a bad idea,” Spoonhour said. “You have to go make things happen and we have a tendency to become too complacent when things go well for a while. We have a tendency of being a little too playful, but we need to be less playful while still being happy.

The Panther defense combined for eight steals and four blocks. Offensively, the Panthers made 12 three-pointers and shot an overall 53.3 percent from the field.

The Panthers improve to a 9-9 overall record and a conference record of 2-4. The Panthers now sit in eighth place in the OVC standings.

Eastern’s men’s team will play next against UT Martin on Thursday at Lantz Arena at 6:30 p.m.

Blake Faith can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]