The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News


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Jacobi records double-double in loss against Fighting Illini

Redshirt sophomore forward Kooper Jacobi puts the ball up in the paint during the Panther’s first men’s basketball game of the season against the Fighting Illini in the State Farm Center Monday night. Jacobi led the Panthers by scoring 10 points and rebounding 11 shots. (Ashanti Thomas)

Although the Panthers lost to the University of Illinois Fighting Illini Monday evening, Eastern fans got to see how the newest Panthers can be significant contributors for the team this season.

Redshirt sophomore forward Kooper Jacobi led the Panthers with a double double in his first game with the Panthers. Jacobi recorded 10 points and 11 rebounds against University of Illinois.

“That’s kinda who he is,” Panthers Head Coach Marty Simmons said. “He loves to play, loves to compete. He kinda hangs his hat on rebounding, and he can score from all three levels. I just think he’s gonna get better and better.”

Senior guard Jordan “Tiger” Booker recorded nine points for the Panthers, and junior guard Nakyel Shelton recorded an additional seven for Eastern.

Simmons touched on how good he feels about this Panther team and their chemistry.

“It’s been better than what I’ve anticipated,” Simmons said. “Last night, these guys all got together and fixed pasta and salad, and I’m not sure I would’ve done that if I had eight new guys. I like what they’re doing, and it may not mean a lot to some people. I like this group.”

The Panthers took the lead as sophomore forward Sincere Malone scored their first points of the game with a contested layup.

When the Illini picked up pressure on the Panthers later in the first half, the lead slipped away from Eastern and slowly went to the University of Illinois.

One thing the Panthers struggled with Monday evening was getting the ball to go down the net.

Eastern was 20 of 69 for field goals (29%) and four of 11 from behind the arc (36.4%). The Panthers were also eight of 16 from the free throw line (50%).

The Panthers went on a field goal drought for about eight minutes in the middle of the second half.

Another key aspect the Panthers struggled with was getting out of foul trouble. Malone ended the first half with three fouls and fouled out with 17 minutes left in the second half, causing the Panthers to adjust without one of their starting forwards for the rest of the game.

Malone played for less than 10 minutes.

Fifth-year forward Jermaine Hamlin also got into foul trouble with four fouls throughout the game.

Despite the foul trouble, Simmons harped on what he thought of the players that came off the bench for the Panthers.

“I was pretty happy with how the bench played,” Simmons said. “When those guys got in foul trouble, I thought Gibson came in and gave us some good minutes in the first half, and I thought everyone that played in the first half because of foul trouble did a pretty good job.”

Junior guard Jaylin Gibson recorded two points and an assist for the Panthers.

Eastern lost to the University of Illinois 52-80 Monday evening at State Farm Center.

Eastern will return to Lantz Arena for their home opener against Monmouth College on Wednesday evening. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m.

Zaria Flippin can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].

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About the Contributors
Zaria Flippin, Sports Editor
Zaria Flippin is a junior sports media relations major. This is her first year at The News.
Ashanti Thomas, Photo Editor
Ashanti Thomas is a senior digital media major. She previously served as photo editor and assistant photo editor at The News.

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