Charles leads Panthers to big win against Skyhawks

Guard+Kashawn+Charles+celebrates+during+the+final+seconds+of+a+win+over+Tennessee-Martin+on+Saturday+at+Lantz+Arena.+Charles+had+a+career-high+of+27+points+in+the+game%2C+which+the+Panthers+won+82-70+against+the+Skyhawks.

Rob Le Cates

Guard Kashawn Charles celebrates during the final seconds of a win over Tennessee-Martin on Saturday at Lantz Arena. Charles had a career-high of 27 points in the game, which the Panthers won 82-70 against the Skyhawks.

Ryan Meyer, Men's Basketball Reporter

The Eastern men’s basketball team completed a season sweep of Tennessee-Martin Saturday on the strong performances of their starting guards, beating the Skyhawks 82-70. It was the Panthers’ highest-scoring game since Dec. 4, 2021.

Kashawn Charles recorded a career high in points with 27 on 54.5 percent three-point shooting and 55.6 percent shooting from the field, playing all 40 minutes with his backcourt mate Kejuan Clements.

Head coach Marty Simmons attributed Charles’ high volume of shot attempts to his ability to simply make the shots he selects.

“You know what, if he’s taking good shots…he can make shots,” Simmons said. “I mean, that’s what he does, and that’s what he brings to our team. He’s a shot maker, and he certainly did that for us today.”

Charles credited his teammates for giving him open looks once he picked up his performance towards the end of the first half, after what he called a slow start.

“…But I kind of picked it up towards the end of the first half and kind of just kept it going throughout the second, so my teammates was finding me, my teammates was giving me good shots, and I was just playing good defense, just trying to keep their score down and have ours go up,” Charles said.

Charles tacked on 3 steals on the defensive end and attributed his energy on both sides of the court to going hard in practice.

“Honestly that just goes from practice, just kind of us going up and down everyday and kind of playing like a game, like a simulation,” Charles said. “So we practice how we play, got a lot of live-action stuff when we practice so it kind of just translates to the game.”

Clements recorded a double-double with 15 points and 10 assists while playing through hard falls, sending him to the free throw line 11 times, of which he made nine.

Forward Rodolfo Rufino Bolis also had a double-double coming off the bench, dropping 13 points to go with 11 rebounds, five of which were on the offensive glass.

Dan Luers led the conference in three-point percentage going into the game and made two of three to likely maintain his hold on that spot.

Simmons recorded his third OVC win as head coach of the Panthers and said he wished the team came out with stronger starts like they did Saturday.

“I just thought our guys came out ready to play and some guys made some shots early, and when you do that, that confidence kind of bleeds through the entire team and I really thought all the guys played with a lot of confidence today,” Simmons said.

The Panthers will begin a four-game road stretch starting at Austin Peay on Monday.

 

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