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 basketball season ends with a first-round exit

Sia DeyKoontz
Men’s basketball senior guard Tiger Booker, tears up during the press conference after the Panthers lost 68-57 against Southern Illinois University Edwardsville on Wednesday night,

Eastern was not able to overcome a 39-22 deficit at the end of the first half against Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (SIUE). They would end up losing 57-68.

This was their first OVC tournament since 2019 where they lost in the second round to Austin Peay State University.

In the first half, Eastern shot eight of 29 from the field and one of nine from three. They only had one shot made until 13:38, and they didn’t make a three until 1:42.

Eastern was holding SIUE to four of 15 from the field until 12:10, but SIUE went 11 of 16 after that. Eastern also allowed a 13-2 SIUE run from 15:44 to 10:08.

“They did a really good job defensively out of the gate. We had a hard time scoring, and we dug ourselves a hole. Being down 17 at half was tough,” Eastern head coach Marty Simmons said.

Redshirt junior Ray’Sean Taylor for SIUE had 18 points in the first half and ended the game with 25 which led the game.

“I wanted to come out and make an imprint on the game right away, and I feel like I did that,” Taylor said. “That was with the help of the whole team though and always keeping me confident, and I thank them for that and I’ll continue to do it.”

In the second half, Eastern got off to a hot start scoring seven straight points and forcing three SIUE turnovers.

“They came out aggressively like a very well-coached team is going to with guys that a lot of heart which Eastern does, and I was saying it earlier I really enjoyed being out,” SIUE head coach Brian Barone said. “I didn’t like that it went from 17 to six, but I look out on the court and I saw Shamar Wright, Lamar Wright, Ray’Sean Taylor, Damarco Minor, and I saw a bunch of guys that reminded me of the last few years on the court with these guys and that’s where you just trust them.”

By 9:08 in the second half, Eastern had more field goals made than they did all of the first half. They ended the second half shooting 15-32.

Eastern was never able to get a good run in the second half; the closest they were able to get being a six-point deficit.

“Our guys did a great job of coming out the second half and they chipped away,” Simmons said. “I think we got it to six and had a couple opportunities, pretty good three-point looks to get even closer. We just couldn’t get them to go.”

Junior guard NaKyel Shelton led Eastern in points with 20 points, and senior guard Tiger Booker led in assists with six.


Luther Yoder can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected]. 

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Luther Yoder
Luther Yoder, Assistant Sports Editor
Luther Yoder is a sophomore journalism major. This is his first year at The News.

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