EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. — Coming into Thursday night, conference play hasn’t been too kind to the SIU-Edwardsville Cougars.
The Cougars came into their game with the Southeast Missouri State Redhawks riding an 11-game losing streak overall. They had lost 17 of their last 18 games, with their only win during that span coming against the Missouri S&T Miners back on December 28th.
In their previous meeting this season, the Redhawks edged the Cougars by three, 79-76.
This time around, the Cougars were hoping for a different result, while the Redhawks were looking to move into a tie for first place in the West Division of the Ohio Valley Conference.
At 6-5 in conference play, Southeast Missouri State came into Thursday night just a half-game behind the division-leading UT-Martin Skyhawks. Thanks to big performances from two of their stars, the Redhawks were able to keep pace atop the division.
CHARLESTON, Ill. — The struggle for Eastern Illinois continues.
Despite career performances from Demetrius McReynolds and Muusa Dama, the Panthers fell to Austin Peay, 92-84. The Governors shot 54.2% from the field to complete their second consecutive win.
“It’s getting pretty frustrating,” said McReynolds. “At the beginning of the game, they were making everything. [In] the second half, we tried to pick up our defensive intensity but just couldn’t get no stops.”
Sunday’s college basketball slate was quieter than the past couple of days, with only 27 games on tap for the day. However, there were still some big games that could provide teams with a much-needed momentum boost as the season ticks along.
One of those games took place in Chicago, where the Eastern Illinois Panthers took on the UIC Flames.
Both teams came into Sunday with identical 4-3 records on the year, and were looking to push their records further above the .500 mark. The Panthers were coming off a loss to the Bradley Braves, and were looking to get back on the right track, while the Flames were looking to extend their winning streak to a modest two games.
It was back-and-forth early on, and the Flames jumped out to an early 5-2 lead. From there, it was a seesaw game, as both squads traded leads on several occasions.
With 6:42 to play in the opening half, Casey Teson hit a three pointer to give the Panthers a 21-18 lead.
They wouldn’t relinquish the lead the rest of the way.
Thursday night’s tilt between the visiting Central Arkansas Bears and the host Southeast Missouri State Redhawks saw how fast momentum can shift. Both halves opened with big runs, creating a big boost of momentum for both teams.
The Bears opened the game on a 10-0 run to come flying out of the gates. Central Arkansas led the entire first half, and took a seven-point advantage into the locker room.
In the second half, it was a different story.
It was the Redhawks’ turn to take control of the game. Over the first nine-plus minutes of the game, Southeast Missouri State opened the half on a 36-1 run, and Central Arkansas never recovered.
Last season, the Austin Peay Governors were one of the biggest surprises come NCAA Tournament time.
As the 8-seed, they came away with the Ohio Valley Conference tournament title, punching their ticket to the Big Dance in the process. Senior forward Chris Horton led the way for the Governors.
This season, with Horton having graduated following Austin Peay’s run to the tournament, Josh Robinson has taken on a lead role for the team. With the junior guard leading the way, the Governors have gone 3-2 to start the season.
Over the past seven days, Austin Peay went 3-1 over their four games, three of which were apart of the Tarkett Sports Classic in Oxford, OH.
Austin Peay went 2-1 in the event, thanks in large part to the play of Robinson.
Friday had a little bit of everything in the college basketball world.
From semi-finals of the Gildan Charleston Classic and the Tire Pros Invitational, to the Michigan Wolverines routing the SMU Mustangs to win the 2K Classic at Madison Square Garden, there was plenty of high-quality basketball on display all day long.
In terms of individual performances, Friday was all about the juniors, as several carried their teams to victory.