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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There’s a Tiger on the loose

Senior guard scored season high as Panthers secure win at home.
Mens+basketball+senior+guard+Tiger+Booker+attempts+to+shot+a+basket+during+the+basketball+game+against+Southern+Illinois+University+Edwardsville%2C+Tuesday+evening%2C+Feb+27%2C+2024+at+Groniger+Arena+%0AThe+Panthers+won+84-79.
Sia DeyKoontz
Men’s basketball senior guard Tiger Booker attempts to shot a basket during the basketball game against Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, Tuesday evening, Feb 27, 2024 at Groniger Arena The Panthers won 84-79.

Setting a season high of 33 points, senior guard Tiger Booker and the Panthers ended the home season with an 84-79 win over the Cougars Tuesday night at Groniger Arena.

“They beat us earlier in the year, and this just gives us confidence because we’re gonna have to turn around and see them in the tournament so beating them now was really fun,” Booker said.

The last time Eastern played Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (SIUE), the Panthers suffered a 67-58 loss to the Cougars in Edwardsville.

The Panthers had a shaky start in the first half as the Cougars were ahead by 10 points nine minutes into the first half.

Although the Panthers were down early in the first half, they continued to fight their way back, going on a 17-0 run.

Men’s basketball senior guard, Tiger Booker, attempts to shoot a basket over two defenders during the basketball game against Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, Tuesday evening, Feb 27, 2024, at Groniger Arena. The Panthers won 84-79 against the SIUE Cougars (Sia DeyKoontz)

Booker scored nine straight points during the run for Eastern.

“My confidence was high, and I wanted to beat [SIUE],” Booker said. “It was about bragging rights for me.”

Eastern closed out the first half five points ahead of SIUE.

During halftime, head coach Marty Simmons and the coaching staff encouraged the team to continue to play hard throughout the second half.

“We talked about the things we did well to get the lead in the first half,” head coach Marty Simmons said. “I liked when we got stops and rebounded it and get out into transition.”

Eastern never let go of the lead throughout the rest of the game.

Along with Booker’s 33 points, junior NaKyel Shelton (12), junior guard/forward Kyndall Davis (11) and junior guard Dan Luers (11) recorded double-digit points.

“This was a good team win,” Davis said. “I feel like this was a good win to get our confidence up going into the tournament.”

The Panthers have one more game until the Ohio Valley Conference tournament. Because the Panthers solidified the seventh seed in the standings, the team will advance to the OVC Tournament for the first time in five years.

Eastern’s final game of the regular season will be against Western Illinois on Thursday in Macomb at 7:30 p.m.

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

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About the Contributor
Zaria Flippin, Sports Editor
Zaria Flippin is a junior sports media relations major. This is her first year at The News.

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