Panthers snap 8-game losing streak

Eastern+guard+Marvin+Johnson+sets+up+the+Panthers%27+offense+in+a+game+against+Eastern+Kentucky+Jan.+16+in+Lantz+Arena.+Johnson+led+the+team+with+20+points%2C+8+assists+and+7+rebounds.+

Adam Tumino | The Daily Eastern News

Eastern guard Marvin Johnson sets up the Panthers’ offense in a game against Eastern Kentucky Jan. 16 in Lantz Arena. Johnson led the team with 20 points, 8 assists and 7 rebounds.

Adam Tumino, Editor-in-Chief

The longest losing streak in eight years for the Eastern men’s basketball team ended Tuesday night when the Panthers beat Southern Illinois-Edwardsville 70-61.

The win was Eastern’s first since Jan. 7 and ended a streak of eight-straight losses, all against conference opponents.

Eastern is now 3-9 in conference play and sits in 10th place, while the Cougars fall to 4-4 in OVC play and are in sixth place.

Eastern’s win came as the Panthers were still short-handed, having just eight players available for the game. This problem was exacerbated in the first two minutes of the game when Eastern’s leading scorer, Josiah Wallace, went down with a left ankle injury.

Wallace rolled his ankle while driving to the basket and missed the rest of the game.

Despite his absence, the Panthers shot over 50 percent from the field and led the game for more than 27 minutes in total.

Neither team played very well in the first half, which ended with Eastern ahead 23-21. The Panthers going 8-of-24 from the field and the Cougars going 8-of-25.

The second half was much more fortuitous for the Panthers, who shot 16-of-23 and 7-of-10 from three-point range.

The Cougars shot better as well, but not by much. They went 14-of-32 in the field in the second half and struggled from three, shooting just 4-of-17 from beyond the arc.

Without Wallace, Eastern guard Marvin Johnson continued his heightened scoring, leading all players with 18 points while playing the maximum 40 minutes. He also flirted with a triple-double, recording 10 rebounds and 8 assists, both of which also led the team.

Senior forward Jordan Skipper-Brown had an efficient shooting night, going 6-of-8 from the field and scoring 15 points. Also scoring in double figures was senior guard Kashawn Charles.

Charles scored 16 points while shooting 5-of-9 from the field, with all the shot attempts being three pointers.     

The Cougars also had three players score in double figures, led by Shamar Wright with 13.

Eastern now returns home to Lantz Arena to play first-place Belmont Thursday and last-place Tennessee State Saturday.

The Bruins are 12-0 in conference play this season and beat Eastern 79-66 back on Jan. 21.

Tennessee State also beat the Panthers on Jan. 23 by a score of 65-54.

 

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