Men’s basketball team to play home opener Monday


File Photo | The Daily Eastern News

Eastern forward Sammy Friday IV battles with two Chicago State defenders in the paint in a game last December, which Eastern won 78-56.

Ryan Meyer, Men's Basketball Reporter

Lantz Arena will hold it’s first men’s basketball game of the season Monday night at 7 p.m. as the Panthers host the 0-2 Central Michigan Chippewas.

Both teams are winless entering their 51st ever matchup, and Eastern has the series lead at 27-23.

Central Michigan’s two losses have come at the hands of Missouri, 78-68, and DePaul, 99-66. The Panthers have lost to Northwestern and Saint Louis.

Eastern has put up 100 points so far this season for an average of 50 points per game, while Central Michigan has scored 134, averaging 67.

The Chippewas are making more shots than the Panthers, shooting 39.5 percent from the field while Eastern is making 31.7 percent of their shots.

Last season Central Michigan went 7-16 overall and 3-13 in conference in 2020-21. Eastern was 9-18 overall and 6-14 in the OVC.

The top returning scorer for the Chippewas is Aundre Polk, a sophomore forward who averaged 8 points and 4.6 rebounds per game in the 2020-21 season. 

Polk is one of four Chippewas averaging nine points or more this season, including Jermaine Jackson, Jr, who has put up 29 points in Central Michigan’s first two games and is shooting 46.7 percent from three-point range.

Eastern’s top scorer through two games is C.J. Lane, who put up 10 points in the Panthers’ loss to Saint Louis and eight in their opener at Northwestern. Lane and Jermaine Hamlin have both scored 10 points in a game this season, Eastern’s highest by an individual so far this season.

Henry Abraham is shooting 44 percent from three-point range on nine attempts so far this season and averaging six points a game.

Rodolfo Rufino Bolis and Jermaine Hamlin round out Eastern’s top four in scoring, with 7 and 6.5 points per game respectively. 

Hamlin is also averaging six rebounds a game, which will be the second-highest average in Monday’s matchup, trailing only Central Michigan’s Brian Taylor, who’s grabbing seven boards a game. Rufino Bolis is also shooting 60 percent from three on five attempts.

After Eastern’s loss to Saint Louis, Marty Simmons said he was eager to begin preparing for his first home game as the new head coach.

“I think we’re more excited, I know us coaches are, just to get to practice tomorrow, to watch the film on the way home, look at some areas that we’ve got to improve on, and go to work. It’s more about us probably than it is Central Michigan, from our standpoint,” Simmons said.


Ryan Meyer can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].