Column: Panthers’ top returners from last season

Adam Tumino, Editor-in-Chief

As we head through this semester without sports at Eastern, it is fun to look back to last season for the fall sports teams. The basketball season is technically  scheduled to begin on time in November. and the Eastern men’s basketball team is preparing for the season to begin.

The Panthers went 17-15 last season, winning their final four conference games to clinch the sixth seed in the OVC tournament, where they won their opening game against Jacksonville State.

The Panthers had no freshmen or sophomores on the roster last season, so all of their returning players are entering their senior seasons. Here are a few of the players who should make an impact this season.

 

Josiah Wallace

In his junior season, guard Josiah Wallace led the Panthers in scoring for the second consecutive season. He averaged 15.6 points per game, which ranked eighth in the OVC. He also ranked seventh in the OVC with 32.1 minutes per game.

Wallace scored 20 or more points 12 times, including in seven straight games. He scored a career-high 32 points against Tennessee State.

Pehaps his biggest moment of the season came Feb. 20 against Murray State, when he made a three-pointer with 0.4 seconds remaining to beat the Racers 63-60. The Panthers trailed by 27 points with just 11 minutes remaining, becoming just the seventh Division I team to win a game in which it trailed by at least 27 points in the second half.

Wallace was named first team All-OVC for the second straight year.

 

George Dixon

A transfer from Vincennes University, George Dixon made a major impact on the Panthers in his first season, being named to OVC All-Newcomer team.

Dixon ranked third on the team in scoring, averaging 11 points per game. He led the team with 8.8 rebounds per game, which ranked second in the OVC. Dixon also ranked 27th in all of NCAA basketball with 110 offensive rebounds and finished 53rd in the NCAA with 11 double-doubles.

Dixon ranked 11th in the OVC in field goal percentage (.527), sixth in steals per game (1.4) and 10th in blocks per game (0.8).

 

Mack Smith

Eastern had a new addition to the 1,000-point club last season when Mack Smith reached that mark, finishing the season tied for 23rd on Eastern’s all-time scoring list.

Smith finished the season in second place on the team in scoring, averaging 13.4 points per game, which also ranked 12th in the OVC.

He also ranked fifth in the conference averaging 2.5 threes per game. Notably, Smith extended his streak of games with a made three pointer to 81, the longest active streak in the NCAA and the second-longest streak all time.

 

Adam Tumino can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]