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

EIU looks to end road stretch on a high note

Eastern prepares for their final two games of a four-game road stretch. (File)

The Eastern men’s basketball team takes a trip to Oxford, Ohio this weekend where they will face Coppin State on Saturday at 2:30 p.m. and Miami (Ohio) on Sunday at noon.

Miami (Ohio) will cap off a four-game stretch of away games for the Panthers. Head Coach Marty Simmons addressed how the team maneuvers through such a period within a season.

“I think [the team] understands that this is part of part of the preparation as we get ready for our conference season,” said Simmons. “Guys look forward to playing in some of the arena. Playing against great crowds. I think our guys look at it as an opportunity to get better.”

Simmons also spoke about new rotation fits that the team has had to navigate to start the season off.

“We’ve had some injuries,” Simmons said. “Tiger, our starting point guard is out. We’re getting Caleb Donaldson back who started quite a bit for us last year. We’re trying to fit the pieces together and trying to find the right rotations for us. We have a lot of guys getting opportunities. We’re looking to see who’s performing the best at certain times and going with that.”

Consistency was a major point for Simmons. Playing at a high on both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball is one of the lessons Simmons really drove home when talking about the team.

“We’re looking at all combinations and trying to establish consistency,” Simmons said. “NaKyel Shelton is somebody who stepped up at Illinois State, especially during the second half. Dan Luers was another guy that scored double digits. Kooper Jacobi has been pretty consistent for us.”

Ball security was an aspect that Simmons has been impressed with so far during the season as well as something Coppin State may look to gameplan for,

“I think we’re averaging 10 turnovers a game, which is pretty good,” Simmons said. “We’ll be challenged with that against Coppin State. They do a good job of pressing. Taking care of the basketball, being strong with the ball, and making good decisions will be important.”

Rebounding though, was one of the areas Simmons wanted to see improvement from the team. The team on average outrebounds their opponents by 3.5 per game, but Simmons isn’t satisfied with that.

“We’ve got to do a better job at getting bodies on people,” Simmons said. “Rebounding with two hands. This should be a strength for us, but we have to be more physical,” said Simmons. “We’ve got athletic guards, and our big buys can rebound as well, but we’ve got to rebound by committee. When your guards rebound well, it ignites your transition game. We need everybody on the glass.”

Through all the talking with Coach Simmons about the team’s performance, he also remained focused on the teams they’re slated to play next.

“We’ll really be challenged this weekend by Coppin and Miami (Ohio),” Simmons said. “Coppin is as fast and as athletic as any team we’ll play all year. They really push the ball in transition, they really get on the glass so it will be a big test for us.”

Maurice Phipps can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected].

Leave a Comment
More to Discover
About the Contributors
Maurice Phipps, Sports Reporter
Maurice Phipps can be reached at [email protected] or 581-2812.
Rob Le Cates
Rob Le Cates, Editor-in-Chief
Rob Le Cates is a junior journalism major. He previously served as summer editor-in-chief, photo editor and assistant photo editor at The News.

Comments (0)

Commenting on the Daily Eastern News web site is a privilege, not a right. We reserve the right to remove comments that contain obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language. Also, comments containing personal attacks or threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
All The Daily Eastern News Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest