OVC Ball Statbox
|5-19 (2-9 OVC)|
|11-13 (7-4 OVC)|
|24/61 (39.3%)||Field Goals||30/63 (47.6%)|
|5/25 (20.0%)||3-Point FG||7/20 (35.0%)|
|16/24 (66.7%)||Free Throws||11/15 (73.3%)|
|39 (14/25)||Rebounds (O/D)||38 (10/28)|
|2nd Chance Pts|
|15||Points off TO||14|
|28||Pts in the Paint||32|
Tempo Tracker (Possessions)
Southeast Missouri offense
Eastern Illinois offense
What happened: Trae Anderson happened, that’s what. The EIU forward scored 18 points on 9-10 shooting in the opening 20 minutes, and finished with a double-double (27 points, 12 rebounds) in a Panthers win. Foul trouble was the only thing that kept Anderson from going for even more — he fouled out after 26 minutes, finishing the game 12-17 from the floor.
Demetrius McReynolds also had a double-double, finishing with 14 points and 11 rebounds. It’s the third time this year McReynolds has pulled down double digits on the boards.
Southeast Missouri hit some three’s out of the gate — and led by as much as seven in the first half, before a 7-0 EIU run erased that lead. The Redhawks were stay with EIU for the rest of the first half, but the Redhawks never fully recovered after an EIU run out of the gate in the second. SEMO couldn’t a three-point shot to fall in the second half, and scored just 27 points in the closing 20 minutes, after a 42 point opening half.
What it means: EIU will be, at worst, still in a tie atop the West Division at the end of Saturday, depending on how Murray State fares later tonight against rival Austin Peay. It’s clear that SEMO is playing their best basketball of the year, and the Panthers avoid a loss that the Redhawks are likely to hand to one or two more teams (at least) before the season is out.
This was a “grind it out” kind of win for EIU. They never led by double digits, just never able to pull away. They shot well as a team, and their defense responded after major lapses in the first half. These kind of wins are important — good teams have to find a way, as the OVC Tournament isn’t known for it’s blowouts.
Player of the morning: (11 a.m. start? Really?) Anderson was the man, but McReynolds efforts and Cornell Johnston’s play at point, finishing with 11 points, 7 assists, and only two turnovers, were tremendous.
The commentators on ASN spent much of the second half praising the play of Luke Piotrowski, saying his play defensively on the inside had a lot to do with the Redhawks second-half struggles.
What’s next: Two games that EIU should win, at least if they really want to win the division: hosting Austin Peay and SIUE next week.
What it means: SEMO continues to improve, especially offensively, which has been a sore spot for the Redhawks through much of the year. (Even the free-throws are falling) Inconsistency is still an issue (see 1-14 three-point shooting in the second half) but for a team playing so many freshmen, that’s expected. Bottom line: they hung with the team atop the division on a short turnaround. (EIU didn’t play Thursday)
Had they hit a few more three’s in the second half, they likely would have been in a position to win down the stretch. Most weren’t bad looks — they just couldn’t get anything to fall that wasn’t at the rim.
Player of the morning: Antonius Cleveland netted a double-double of his own, scoring 15 points and pulling down 10 rebounds. He also added three blocks on the stat sheet. Isiah Jones was the only other Redhawks scoring in double figured — but nine different players hit at least one field goal.
What’s next: The other two teams battling to win the West. The Redhawks hit the road to play Murray State and UT Martin.