Men’s basketball team falls to Colonels in overtime

Adam Tumino, Editor-in-Chief

The shorthanded Eastern men’s basketball team lost its third-straight game Saturday, falling 93-85 at home in overtime against Eastern Kentucky.

With the win, Eastern Kentucky sweeps the season series against Eastern for the second season in a row.

Eastern fell to 2-4 this season in OVC play and the Colonels improve to 6-1 against conference opponents.

Eastern head coach Jay Spoonhour said he was happy with how the team performed despite the loss.

“I thought we really did a good job, I mean good enough to really have the game to where, you don’t have it won, but you have a chance to win and get a stop,” he said.

Spoonhour also said he was pleased with how the available players have responded when the team has been shorthanded this season due to COVID-19 protocols.

“Especially tonight, they did a very good job. Guys are stepping up and trying to play,” Spoonhour said. “Ryan Leonard had only been back in the states for three days or four days and has played in two games. That’s not ideal to put a guy in but we didn’t have a choice.”

One of the biggest pieces missing for Eastern again was senior guard Josiah Wallace, who leads the team in scoring with 17.5 points per game, which also ranks second in the OVC.

Eastern’s second leading scorer, Marvin Johnson, has increased his scoring overall this season, but has become the primary scoring option when Wallace has been out.

Spoonhour said he has liked the way Johnson has increased his scoring while also performing well in other facets of the game.

“He’s (scoring) and he’s distributing it,” Spoonhour said. “Whenever we make any really good plays, he’s usually right in the middle of it. He’s defending really well, so he’s doing fine. You always want to cut down on turnovers, but a lot of the time, it’s hard to get good plays and not turn it over sometimes. I think he’s done a heck of a good job.”

Johnson scored a team-high of 20 points Saturday on 7-of-18 while also tallying 8 assists and 7 rebounds, leading the team in both of those categories as well.

On the season, Johnson’s 12.8 points per game rank 15th in the OVC and 4 assists per game rank sixth.

Three other Eastern players also scored in double figures Saturday.

Sammy Friday IV scored a season-high 18 points while George Dixon and Kashawn Charles scored 10 points apiece.

Eastern shot 32-of-73 as a team but went just 6-of-28 from three-point range.

Eastern Kentucky also shot 32-of-73 overall but were much more efficient from beyond the arc, shooting 12-of-23 from deep.

The Colonels were led once again by Tre King, the OVC’s third-leading scorer, who scored 24 points while shooting 9-of-17 from the field and 3-of-5 from three.

Eastern’s next game will be on the road Thursday against Belmont for a second-consecutive matchup against one of the OVC’s top teams. The Bruins currently lead the OVC with a conference record of 8-0.

Spoonhour said that it will be another challenge for the Panthers.

“We have a really hard time with them,” he said. “There’s not any secret to it, it’s just a matter of they’ve got a really good inside guy and a lots of guys that can shoot.”

Eastern will then play again Saturday against Tennessee State. The Tigers are in last place in the conference with an OVC record of 1-6 and overall record of 2-8.

 

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