Panthers drop home game against Belmont 90-56


Rob Le Cates | The Daily Eastern News

Eastern forward Paul Bizimana puts up a shot in the Panthers’ game against Belmont on Monday in Lantz Arena. Bizimana scored 20 points in the game, which Eastern lost 90-56.

Ryan Meyer, Men's Basketball Reporter

Eastern’s injury-plagued men’s basketball team suffered their tenth-straight loss Monday night, falling to Belmont 90-56 despite another standout performance by Paul Bizimana.

Only seven Panthers took the court and four of them played over 30 minutes. Kejuan Clements exited the game with 7:19 left in the first half after taking a hit to the hand but would return to start the second half. Veteran forward Sammy Friday IV has been playing limited minutes due to a nagging knee injury.

Bizimana led Eastern in minutes and points, scoring 20 to bring his total to 52 in the past three games. He was also responsible for all the points in a 9-4 run to close out the first half. It was an optimistic finish to a half that saw them go scoreless for over seven minutes while Belmont built their lead to as much as 27 in the first half. Their biggest lead of the game was 37.

Belmont guard Grayson Murphy notched his 700th career assist during the game, putting him as the all-time assist leader in OVC history.

Many of Bizimana’s points came in the paint while being guarded by Nick Muszynski, Belmont’s 6-foot-11 center averaging 1.8 blocks per game, however he said he’s become accustomed to it by practicing against Illinois transfer Jermaine Hamlin.

“I am used to it because I go against one of the best centers in the league, Jermaine, came from Illinois, so he definitely helps me,” Bizimana said. “So when I go against people just as big or even bigger, I’m just adapt(ed) to it, I’m used to it.”

Head coach Marty Simmons attributed Bizimana’s recent performances to him building confidence in his offensive game.

“He’s done some good things offensively,” Simmons said. “I think he just gets more and more confidence and I think he’s got a chance to be good.”

There were moments during the game where the Panthers expressed frustration with each other after missed cuts and screens.

“We get frustrated because we definitely do it in practice- we communicate pretty well in practice so like during the game when we don’t communicate we do get kind of frustrated at each other, but yeah we’re still good,” Bizimana said.

“We got tomorrow off, we got to get rested, you know we don’t have a lot of time to prepare, we don’t have a lot of guys that are playing, so just taking care of their bodies, making sure they’re getting the proper rest and fluids in their bodies…we did some good things out here today, just try to build on those things and learn from some of the mistakes we made, and take that with us to Martin,” Simmons said.

The Panthers play Tennessee-Martin on the road Thursday.


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