Monday, January 19, 2015

EIU Survives Morehead State to Remain Undefeated in OVC Play

Eastern Illinois 65
Morehead State 62

Final from Morehead, KY

Game recap by MSU:

MOREHEAD, Ky. -- The Eastern Illinois men's basketball team knocked down nine consecutive field-goal attempts in the second half to escape with a 65-62 Ohio Valley Conference victory over Morehead State on Saturady afternoon at Johnson Arena.

The Panthers improve to 12-6 overall, 6-0 in conference play and 5-4 on the road. The Eagles slip to 7-13 overall, 2-3 in league action and 3-5 at home. Eastern Illinois also snaps a five-game skid in the series and moves to 23-13 all-time against Morehead State.

Eastern Illinois has now won nine consecutive games this season, which sets a Division I school record. The Panthers also notched nine straight victories as a Division II program in 1978. EIU finished last season just 11-19 overall and 7-9 in the league.

"I'm disappointed because we didn't sustain our energy and effort for 40 minutes today," Head Coach Sean Woods said. "We were terrific for the first 10 minutes of the second half, but didn't start the game very well and made too many mistakes down the stretch."

The contest featured six ties and six lead changes. EIU held a 25-19 lead at intermission. The Eagles opened the second half with an 8-0 run, but the Panthers responded moments later with an 18-9 surge. MSU's final advantage -- one point -- came with 5:27 to play.

Morehead State trimmed the deficit to one multiple times down the stretch, but Eastern Illinois knocked down 68 percent (13-of-19) from the field and 67 percent (12-of-18) from the free-throw stripe in the second half to stay undefeated in conference action.

"I feel like we missed an opportunity today, but you have to give Eastern Illinois credit," Woods said. "They are certainly an improved basketball team from last season and their OVC record indicates that. They shot the ball well and defended well for most of the game."

Freshman Cornell Johnston registered a game-high 22 points for EIU, while senior Reggie Smith added 11 points and six rebounds. Senior Dylan Chatman posted a squad-best four assists for the Panthers, while junior LeTrell Viser contributed a team-high three steals.

Senior Billy Reader and junior Brent Arrington tallied 16 points each to lead MSU. Reader made 8-of-13 from the field, while Arrington drilled 6-of-10. Senior Karam Mashour chipped in with 12 points, eight rebounds and four steals for the Eagles, while sophomore Corban Collins netted 12 points.

Senior Angelo Warner was credited with eight rebounds and six assists in 33 minutes, but failed to score for the first time since Feb. 8, 2012. Morehead State's leading scorer had previously reached the points column in 89 consecutive games. He was playing in his 116th career game on Saturday.

Complete Recap

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