Eastern Illinois lost in their first of two games in two days in Florida, falling to 1-5 on the season. Our initial thoughts:
(Note: no live stats were available for this post, so we’re going completely off gut reactions)
Olivier Injured? EIU’s leading scorer, Chris Olivier didn’t start, and played limited minutes against Creighton. His minutes were limited again today — and I’m not sure he played at all in the second half. We’ll check into his status, but it appears there may be some kind of injury hampering the Panthers forwards. Either that, or he’s really in head coach Jay Spoonhour‘s doghouse.
Driving to pass, not shoot: During a rough stretch of shooting in the first half, Eastern Illinois kept driving, only to pass to someone on the perimeter. It didn’t even look like they were looking for shots inside — instead just using it to create open three’s. Cornell Johnston, especially, would drive to the paint, and without picking up his dribble, find someone to pass it to. It’s okay if they’re falling. They weren’t.
Too many threes: Very much related to my last point, EIU tried to shoot themselves out of a slump. Shots weren’t falling, but Eastern Illinois wouldn’t stop taking three’s, sometimes early in the shot clock. When things aren’t working — get the ball inside.
Slow off screens: There’s no doubt that NC Central was hitting shots in the first half, but they were getting open looks far too easily off of high screens. There were at least five or six (probably more) great looks early where EIU simply was slow getting off the screen, and was at least a few steps behind on the play. They corrected this somewhat in the second half, but the Eagles were also holding onto the ball deeper into the shot clock.