Men’s basketball goes cold from three-point range in loss

Blake Faith, Men's Basketball Reporter

Eastern’s men’s basketball team’s cold second half three-point shooting and early foul trouble in the second half proved to be the difference maker in its 91-84 loss to Eastern Kentucky. Despite their cold three-point shooting juniors Marvin Johnson and Jordan Skipper-Brown had their best games of the season while Josiah Wallace scored a game-high 25 points.

The Panthers had open looks from the three-point line, but failed to make them until late in the second half. The Panthers shot a combined 4-of-16 from the three-point line while the Colonels Colonels 4-of-6 from the three-point line in the second half.

“The only reason the shots seemed like it wasn’t good is because the shots didn’t go in,” head coach Jay Spoonhour said. “It’s really the kinds of shots you have to take and make if you’re going to win. I didn’t have an issue with the way we attacked in the second half and it was good.”

Two of the four late three-pointers came from junior Josiah Wallace. Wallace scored 20 of his 25 points in the second half by either his three-pointers, his ability to get to the rim or getting himself to the free-throw line.

Johnson in the road stretch had two costly turnovers in both losses on the road against Murray State and Austin Peay. Johnson coming off the bench scored nine first-half points by getting to the basket and converting layups.

Johnson rallied the Panthers late in the second half with a driving layup with a foul and converted the three-point play to make the score 63-61 in favor of the Colonels.

“It’s a lack of concentration,” Johnson said. “We have to stay with it and be ready to go 24/7. You just can’t ever worry about the misses. You have to keep playing and keep going through.”

Eastern Kentucky then went on a 13-6 run for four minutes to take a 76-67 lead. The Colonels went 2-of-2 from the three-point line and 5-of-6 from the free-throw line. Colonels leading scorer was Tre King who scored 22 points, while shooting 7-of-10 from the field, 7-of-9 from the free-throw line and recorded seven rebounds.

“We didn’t stay in front of them so they got the ball to the rim,” Spoonhour said. “We had the ball bouncing around and they made every open three they had and we fouled them. So there wasn’t anything we did defensively well to win this one.”

The Panthers relied on Skipper-Brown to get points inside. The Panthers found their forward in the paint for him to record five dunks before he got into foul trouble. Skipper-Brown committed his fourth foul with 14 minutes left in the second half. He finished the game 12 points, three rebounds, a steal and a block.

The Panthers fall to 11-12 overall on the season and 4-7 in conference play. This loss is the first loss at home of the season for the Panthers.

Eastern’s next game is against Morehead State on Saturday at 3:15 p.m. Eastern lost to Morehead State on the road 69-66 on Jan. 11.

“It’ll be a game we have to bear down and guard,” Spoonhour said. “Just because we’re playing at home doesn’t mean that you’re ordained to win the game.”

 

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