EIU men’s basketball season ends on Senior Day


Han Byer

Eastern forward, Sincere Malone (5), attempts to make a layup against Tennessee Tech in Lantz Arena on Saturday. The Panthers lost 75-66.

Autumn Schulz, Sports Editor

Eastern’s men’s basketball team saw its season come to an end on Senior Day Saturday afternoon in Lantz Arena after losing 75-66 to Tennessee Tech. 

The Panthers ended their season 9-22 overall and 5-13 in the OVC. The win over the Panthers secured the second seed in the OVC Tournament for the Golden Eagles. 

When asked what he will remember most about the season, head coach Marty Simmons said that the team did not quite make it over the hump. 

“I think we made a lot of strides,” Simmons said. “We improved in a lot of areas, but we didn’t get where we wanted to be as far as wins and losses.” 

There was a valiant effort from both teams on offense throughout the entire game. In the first half, the Panthers shot 34.38 percent from the field and 18.18 percent from the three-point line. 

The effort from the Panthers showed in the last few minutes of the first half. Junior center Nick Ellington dunked the ball after a missed layup down the middle from freshman guard Sincere Malone. 

Malone, after junior guard Kinyon Hodges tied the game 29-29 with free throws, broke away on a fast break and made a layup. 

The Eagles led 32-31 at halftime after Jayvis Harvey hit a three. The Golden Eagles would end the first half shooting 41.94 percent from the field and 31.25 percent from the three-point line. 

The offensive effort only improved into the second half as the Panthers shot 53.85 percent from the field and 40 percent from the three-point line. 

Simmons said that the Panthers’ zone defense helped the Panthers compete for the duration of the game. 

“I thought our guys flew around, got their hands on a lot of balls, really proud of them for the effort that they gave for the two seniors,” Simmons said. 

The Golden Eagles shot 53.57 percent from the field and 40 percent from the three-point line in the second half.  

The Panthers had three players in double digits against the Golden Eagles. Hodges led the way with 21 points, Cameron Haffner had 13 points and Malone followed behind with 12 points on the board.  

The Golden Eagles, on the other hand, had four players in double digits. Harvey led the team with 17 points, Jaylen Sebree had 13, Grant Strong had 14, and Grant Slatten put up 12. 

The Panthers’ two seniors, CJ Lane and Yaakema Rose Jr., were honored before the game in celebration of Senior Day. 

Lane said that he will be back next year to play with the Panthers and that he is looking forward to next season. 

Rose Jr. said that it was sad for him because he was surrounded by a great group of guys, but the season did not go as planned. 

“We wanted to do that this year, but it didn’t go as planned but we still made great relationships with each other,’ Rose Jr. Said. 

Both Lane and Rose Jr. agreed that the highlight of their senior seasons was beating Iowa. 

With Rose Jr. being gone next season, there is room for some of the younger players to step up and take a leadership role. Both seniors agreed that the freshmen and sophomores played a huge role in stepping up this season.  

Cameron Haffner, Sincere Malone, Kyle Thomas, and Kyle Carlesimo are all players to look forward to stepping up next season.  

“This team is pretty loaded so don’t sleep on EIU,” Lane said.  

Both seniors were accompanied by their families to celebrate their time here at EIU. Lane was accompanied by his mother and Rose Jr. had his mother, father, and grandmother. 

Lane said that he is from Florida and that it is a long trip here and that he really enjoyed it. 

Rose Jr. said with a laugh that seeing his grandmother was really sweet because she did not make it on time for his Senior Day celebration at Missouri St. Louis 


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