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

Panthers struggle with rebounds in loss against Skyhawks

Eastern’s senior guard Tiger Booker shoots a contested layup over University of Tennessee-Martin’s junior guard Jordan Sears. The Panthers lost to the Skyhawks 76-59 Thursday evening in Groniger Arena. (Sia DeyKoontz)

Eastern’s men’s basketball fell to the University of Tennessee-Martin 76-59 Thursday evening in Groniger Arena.

This tough loss was mainly credited to rebounds. UT Martin clinched 52 rebounds while Eastern recorded 37. 

Losing to rebounds has become a common trend amongst the Panthers. When the rebounds are low, so are the points.

Junior forward Rodolfo Rufino Bolis led with seven rebounds, senior guard Tiger Booker had five and sophomore forward Sincere Malone recorded four.

“It is going to be more mental than physical,” Eastern’s head coach Marty Simmons said. “They are going to have to make up their mind. Every time a shot goes up, [they] have to pivot and pursue the basketball with two hands.”

The energy started to pivot in a positive direction going into the end of the first half.

Coming off halftime, the Panthers were leading 37-22. However, the team’s energy took a turn leading into the second half.

“I will give credit to [UT] Martin; they certainly brought a lot of energy into the second half then we did not,” Simmons said.

Another factor of tonight’s tough loss can be credited to the mentality on the court.

Like many sports, the true game starts in the mind. Mentality is a huge part of playing. Booker and junior guard Corey Sawyer Jr. both helped to explain this.

“I would say midway through the second half, we just gave up,” Booker said. “I don’t really know what it was, we just gave up.”

“Our mentality, we laid down and didn’t fight back,” Sawyer Jr. said. “When things really got tough, we really just folded and let them keep scoring and come out with the win.”

When it comes down to the stats, Booker scored nearly 50 percent of the points with 28 points. Booker also recorded two assists.

“I am just playing with confidence right now, really believing in myself, that’s it,” Booker said. 

Sawyer Jr. scored 10 points and recorded one assist. 

The Panthers were five for 26 in the three-point category. Booker contributed to three of the five, and junior guard NaKyel Shelton along with junior guard Dan Luers scored the other two.

The Panthers came into this game 4-4 in the Ohio Valley Conference and 10-11 overall as they now fall to 4-5 in the conference and 10-12 overall.

Now leading into Saturday’s game, the men hope to return with more confidence, fixing the mentality and working to motivate each other.

“I just need to do whatever my team needs for us to win,” Sawyer Jr. said.

The men will play their next conference game against the Little Rock Trojans on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. in Groniger Arena. 

 

Chloe Proffitt can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected].

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Chloe Proffitt
Chloe Proffitt, Sports Reporter
Chloe Proffitt is a freshman nutrition and dietetics major and can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].

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