Panthers ground Skyhawks
After picking up back-to-back wins for the first time this season the Skyhawks fell to the Eastern Illinois Panthers 93-65.
The two teams battled back and forth throughout the first five minutes but after the Panthers went on a 9-0 run to put them up 19-10 it looked like the Skyhawks may be in for a rough evening. However, that wasn't how the first half played out.
The team quickly regained composure and battled back only trailing by four points but after a 3-point shot from junior guard Justin Childs the Skyhawks pulled within just one point of the lead. The Panthers responded with a 6-0 run pulling out to a 37-30 lead. As the clock wound down to the end of the first half the Skyhawks headed to the locker room only down by nine points with a score of 43-34.
The difference between the first and second half of this game was the same as the difference between day and night. The high point for the Skyhawks after returning to the court was pulling within four point of the lead only two minutes into the second half. After that, it was all downhill from there.
The Panthers pulled out to a 10-point lead with 14:32 left in the game and never looked back as they won by an impressive 28 points.
Shooting percentages told the story of the night. The Panthers shot 65.2 percent on 2-point shots, a staggering 63.2 percent on 3-point shots, and 77.8 percent on free throws. On the opposite end of the spectrum the Skyhawks shot 45.1 percent on 2-point shots, a mere 35.7 percent on 3-point shots, but managed an impressive 73.7 percent on free throws. The other issue that plagued the Skyhawks was the fact that for most of the second half they stayed in foul trouble with both senior forward Jeremy Washington and sophomore forward Myles Taylor fouling out.
"I thought we lost our composure a couple of times on those fouls but for the most part we were just trying to play physical, " said head coach Jason James following the loss. "We keep our head but the frustration of the game, being behind, kind of played into it."
Taylor led the team in scoring and rebound with 19 points, seven rebounds and two steals, one of which resulted in a dunk. Behind him was sophomore guard Terence Smith with 11 points, four assists and two steals. Junior guards Mike Liabo and Justin Childs each had 10 points and two assists on the night, Liabo also recorded one steal.
The Skyhawks will remain at home to face SIU Edwardsville Saturday Feb. 9, with tipoff set for noon. To follow the game, follow The Pacer on Facebook and Twitter, @thepacer.
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