Panthers get reinforcements in upset win

Adam Tumino, Editor-in-Chief

Some major players were back in action when the Eastern men’s basketball team played Murray State Thursday night.

George Dixon was back after missing eight games and Josiah Wallace returned after a four-game absence.

Although neither player contributed much on offense, their availability helped Eastern pick up an upset win over the Racers on the road 68-59.

Eastern also beat Murray State on Jan. 7, making this the first time ever that the Panthers have swept the season series against Murray State.

Eastern remains on the outside of the OVC Tournament picture despite the win, but their postseason hopes are still alive with three games left in the season.

Although Murray State is in sixth place in the OVC, they entered the game with the conference’s third-ranked offense and second-ranked defense.

Eastern, despite allowing an average of 79.3 points over their last four games, held the Racers’ offense in check.

Murray State shot 25-of-61 of the field but went 4-of-21 from three-point range.

Eastern’s offense was much more productive.

The Panthers shot 27-of-47 from the field and 7-of-11 from three while leading the game for nearly 35 minutes and only trailing for just over 1 minute.

Eastern, a bit surprisingly, outrebounded the Racers 43-26 for the game. The Panthers entered the game ranked ninth in the OVC in rebound margin and the Racers ranked second.

Individually, three players scored in double figures for each team.

Eastern was led by senior guard Marvin Johnson with 18 points. Senior forward Jordan Skipper-Brown added 14 points, including a couple of highlight-reel dunks, and senior guard Deang Deang finished third on the team with 10 points.

These three combined to go 17-of-21 from the field.

Skipper-Brown also added a game-high 10 rebounds, making him the only player in the game to record a double-double.

Mack Smith contributed 9 points while making 3 three pointers and Josiah Wallace scored 7 in his return, although he struggled a bit from the field, shooting 3-of-10.

Sophomore guard Chico Carter Jr. led the Racers with a career-high 21 points, more than double his previous career high.

Junior Forward KJ Williams added 15 points and 8 rebounds for the Racers while junior guard Tevin Brown contributed 10 points.

Eastern’s next game will be Saturday on the road against Austin Peay. The Governors are 10-7 and in fifth place in the OVC.

Austin Peay beat Eastern in the previous matchup Jan. 9 on a buzzer beater from Governors’ star senior Terry Taylor. 

 

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