Slow start sinks Panthers against Evansville

Adam Tumino, Editor-in-Chief

A two-game winning streak for the Eastern men’s basketball team was snapped Wednesday night against Evansville with the Panthers losing 68-65.

After having just 19 points at halftime, Eastern came out hot in the second half, at one point going on a 10-0 run and tying the score at one point. But the comeback bid fell short.

The Panthers dug themselves a hole by turning the ball over and shooting poorly in the first half. As a team, they went just 7-of-20 from the field and had 9 turnovers.

Evansville shot much better in the first half, going 11-of-24 from the field and 5-of-12 from three-point range. The Aces led by 15 points at the end of the half.

Eastern pushed back hard at the start of the second half, shooting 17-of-31 and making 9 three pointers in 13 attempts for a three-point percentage of 69.2 percent.

The Panthers also cut down on turnovers, committing just 2 in the second half while forcing 5 from Evansville.

But despite their hot shooting, Eastern could not pull ahead due to Evansville’s solid shooting throughout the half. The Aces shot over 50 percent from the field and stayed just far enough ahead of Eastern.

Throughout the game, Evansville was able to convert tough, contested shots, including several three pointers as the shot clock expired. They also knocked down open looks when they got them.

The final statistics were well-balanced between teams, with Evansville recording 28 rebounds and 13 assists compared to Eastern’s 27 and 12.

The Aces shot better from the field with a shooting percentage of 48.9, but Eastern was superior from beyond the arc, shooting 61.1 percent on three pointers.

Evansville was led in scoring by junior guard Jawaun Newton with 19 points. A majority of his points came from the free-throw line, where he shot 11-of-13. The rest of the Aces combined to go 2-of-4 from the line.

Four other Evansville players scored in double-figures, with Evan Kuhlman tallying 15 points and three players scoring 11 points each.

For Eastern, Marvin Johnson had his highest-scoring game of the season with 17 points before fouling out in the final minute of the game.

Josiah Wallace continued his hot start to the season, tying Johnson with 17 points. Wallace landed awkwardly on his ankle in the second half, but returned to the court after receiving treatment on the bench.

Mack Smith scored 12 points for the Panthers, shooting 4-of-5 from three. His streak of consecutive games with a three pointer was extended to 87, and he can tie the NCAA Division I record at home against Western Illinois on Saturday.


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