The regular season is in the books for the Eastern men’s and women’s basketball teams as each team lost in their regular season finales Saturday against Tennessee-Martin.
The women will continue their season Wednesday when they take part in the OVC Tournament. For the men’s team, the loss ended their season. They were eliminated from the postseason with a loss to Southeast Missouri Thursday.
The Panthers entered play Saturday after clinching a spot in the OVC Tournament Thursday.
The game Saturday was not meaningless, however, as Tennessee-Martin will also be Eastern’s opponent in the tournament Wednesday afternoon.
Eastern led for much of the game after outscoring Tennessee-Martin 26-11 in the first quarter.
The conference’s top team could not be held down for long, scoring 25 points in the second quarter and then outscoring Eastern 19-4 in the fourth quarter, winning 69-63.
The Skyhawks were also without senior forward Chelsey Perry, the presumptive OVC Player of the Year.
In her place, Dasia Young scored 30 points on 12-of-13 shooting.
It was senior night for Eastern, and Karle Pace, Taylor Steele and Grace McRae all got the start for their final game at Lantz Arena.
Pace scored 16 points, Steele had 9 and McRae had 4. Lariah Washington led the team with 17 points.
The eighth-place Panthers ended the season with a conference record of 9-11 while the first-place Skyhawks had an OVC record of 17-2.
They play in Evansville Wednesday at 1 p.m.
The Panthers and Skyhawks were both out of contention for the conference tournament Saturday.
The Skyhawks won 73-68, and both teams finished the regular season with a conference record of 6-14.
Eastern honored the eight seniors on the roster in the game.
They are Jordan Skipper-Brown, Marvin Johnson, Mack Smith, Josiah Wallace, Sammy Friday IV, George Dixon, Kashawn Charles and Deang Deang.
These eight players were also the only players to score in the game, led by Skipper-Brown with 18 points and Johnson with 17. Skipper-Brown also led the team with 9 rebounds and Johnson had a team-high 6 assists.
Of these players, Smith is the only one who spent all four years at Eastern. He ends his career as the 16th-leading scorer in program history and set a new NCAA Division I record by making a three-pointer in 91 consecutive games, breaking the previous record of 88.
Adam Tumino can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]