Panthers suffer home loss to OVC-leading Murray State


Rob Le Cates | The Daily Eastern News

Eastern forward Rodolfo Bolis looks to pass the ball in the Panthers’ game against Murray State Monday at Lantz Arena. Bolis had nine points and six rebounds in the game, which Eastern lost 72-46.

Autumn Schulz, Assistant Sports Editor

The Eastern men’s basketball team dropped to 0-2 in OVC play Monday night at Lantz Arena after losing to Murray State 72-46. 

The Panthers relied on their younger players Monday night as they were led by freshman forward Rodolfo Bolis who had nine points, six rebounds and five steals. Bolis was followed by junior guard Kejuan Clements who finished the contest with seven points, three rebounds and three steals..  

The Panthers have been suffering from COVID-19 health and safety protocols which led the team to only having eight players in total Monday night. Bolis said that adjusting to only playing with eight players has been a challenge and has forced the team to be more conscious of their fouling.  

“We got tired, so we didn’t have any subs, so we had to keep going. That’s the most important thing, you have to be careful with fouls,” he said. “In my perspective, it is more difficult to practice because practice with eight or nine guys, like, it’s difficult to play five on five.”  

The Panthers finished the contest with a 28.6 field goal percentage and were out rebounded 42-26. The Racers had two players in double figures against the Panthers. Tevin Brown led the way with 19 points, and was 5-11 at the three-point line, leading Brown to breaking the all-time three-point record for the Racers with 305. KJ Williams followed Brown closely with 16 points and nine rebounds.  

The first half was the better half for the Panthers as they held the Racers to a scoreless three minutes. The Panthers capitalized on the momentum and with about a minute to go in the first half, the Panthers showed what their offense was capable of after going on a 6-0 run making the score 33-24 in favor of the Racers at halftime.  

Bolis said that playing well at the end of the first half did not come at the hand of adjustments, but they were simply just playing hard.  

“To be real we didn’t make a lot of adjustments. When we got stopped, we were like, we have to play offense,” he said. “They kind of flow easier when you get to a lot of stops on defense.”  

Head coach Marty Simmons also said that the team did not make any adjustments after their short run at the end of the first half. 

“Honestly, we just got more active, we really didn’t make any adjustments,” he said. “Kind of did what we really had setup in the beginning and were just active with our hands and we’re able to knock the ball loose with some deflection.” 

However, the second half belonged to the Racers as they went on an 8-0 run, allowing them to outscore the Panthers 39-22 with 25 of those points coming from forced turnovers.  

Simmons said that despite the second half, and not having players such as Sammy Friday IV and Jermaine Hamlin, he feels that the team played hard.  

“You know, we just don’t have Sammy’s experience, but our guys are competing and they’re playing hard, and I love their effort tonight,” he said.  

The loss has officially dropped the Panthers to 2-14 overall and to last place in the OVC. Despite this, Simmons said that he commends the team for being able to be resilient. 

“Nobody likes to lose. They’ve been resilient. I mean, they’ve come to practice where we’ve only had four or five guys that were able to practice, and we worked them out individually,” he said. “I tip my hat too; they’ve had a good attitude.”  

The Panthers will once again play Murray State this Thursday in Kentucky starting at 7 p.m.  


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