Panthers to return to action Thursday with home game against Cougars


Ashanti Thomas | The Daily Eastern News

Eastern guard Henry Abraham drives along the baseline in Eastern’s game against Rockford on Nov. 18 in Lantz Arena. Abraham had 15 points and five assists in the game, which Eastern won 96-64.

Autumn Schulz, Assistant Sports Editor

The Eastern men’s basketball team will return to action Thursday evening for the first time in two weeks due to COVID-19 health and safety protocols to take on the 6-8 SIUE Cougars.

The Cougars have faced their own COVID-19 related delays this season after also having three of their OVC games postponed. Thursday will be the 25th meeting between the Panthers and the Cougars with the Panthers holding a 17-7 all-time lead in the series.

The Panthers will enter the series with a 2-12 overall record and a 0-1 record in the OVC earning them the ninth ranked spot. The last time the Panthers took the court was during their OVC opener against Morehead State back in December, resulting in a 63-50 loss.

The Panthers held a 26-23 halftime lead but were held to only six rebounds in the second half, allowing the Eagles to secure the win with a 31-26 rebound advantage. Junior guard CJ Lane led the way for the Panthers offensively against the Eagles with a season-high of 20 points making it his fourth double-figure scoring game this season.

Currently, the Panthers are averaging 56.7 points per game while allowing their opponents 70.1 points per game. The Panthers are averaging a 39.7 field goal percentage per game with forward Sammy Friday IV leading the conference shooting 61.2 percent.

The Cougars will enter Thursday’s contest with a 6-8 overall record and a 0-1 record in the OVC, earning them the eighth ranked spot. The last time the Cougars took the court was last Saturday during their OVC opener against Murray State, resulting in a 74-69 loss.

Despite outscoring the Racers 42-32 in the second half and only turning the ball over twice, the Cougars could not hold on to secure the win. The Cougars were led by redshirt freshman guard Ray ‘Sean Taylor who had 24 points and six rebounds.

Taylor is leading the Cougars in scoring this season at 17.8 points per game. He is not the only Cougar to look out for as Shaun Doss Jr. also averages in double figures at 11.5 points per game.

The Panthers will certainly be going up against a tough defense on Thursday as the Cougars are second in the OVC for scoring defense, allowing their opponents only 66.5 points per game. The Cougars are first in the OVC for field goal percentage defense, limiting their opponents to 39.9 percent shooting.


Autumn Schulz can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]