CHARLESTON — Woody Austin’s kid is the Ohio Valley Conference men’s basketball Freshman of the Week.
Actually, the announcement from the league office correctly calls him Alex Austin of Eastern Illinois.
But the son of the former Purdue star knows the score.
“It’s still kind of Woody’s son but hopefully people will stop saying that and I’ll make my own name,” Alex Austin said.
While off to a good start at doing that, the EIU freshman realizes he has more to do after Friday’s 13 points in the Panthers’ 76-53 loss season-opening loss to Bradley.
“I hit a lot of my 3s but I’m trying to expand it a little bit more so I do everything,” said Austin, who made three of five 3-pointers against Bradley and also scored 13 points when making three of five 3s in Eastern’s 87-34 exhibition win over NAIA Trinity International.
Eastern’s new coach Jay Spoonhour in general is looking for more success closer to the basket in today’s 7 p.m. home opener against Wright State at Lantz Arena.
“The thing you always want to do, and it’s hard, is to learn from losing games,” Spoonhour said. “You really have to take stuff away from the game. We allowed them in the lane too much. The game was inside the lane for them and outside the lane for us. How much better can you get better at that in two days? We’ll see. It’s a year-long process.”
Lesson No. 1 for this EIU team of newcomers and reserves from a 12-17 season came in the opening loss at Bradley which outscored the Panthers 36-18 in points in the paint and outrebounded them 35-25.
EIU shot .347 from the field, including 7-for-23 from 3-point range in a game it had an early lead but trailed 38-22 by halftime.
“When we got tired,” Spoonhour said. “We got tired midway through the first half. When we got tired we stopped attacking. That’s something we’ve addressed.”
Wright State, on the other hand, comes to Charleston with the momentum of an 80-70 season-opening win at Idaho, a team that was 19-14 last season.
“They traveled halfway across the country and won,” Spoonhour said of the Raiders. “You don’t do that without having a certain amount of moxie.”
With no seniors on the roster after going 13-19 last season, Wright State got a 17-point game off the bench from freshman J.T. Yoho in this year’s opener.
The returning scorer from last season is Reggie Arceneaux, a 5-foot-9 guard who averaged 8.5 points as a freshman and contributed 10 points Friday at Idaho.
“He creates a lot of stuff for people,” Spoonhour said. “He played the whole game and only made one turnover. He had a good game and didn’t shoot well.”
With six different players hitting at least one 3-pointer as the team shot 9-for-25, the Raiders won Friday despite being outscored by Idaho 34-28 in the paint.
“Almost every one of them played last year,” Spoonhour said. “We saw how important that was for Bradley.
“They really run good stuff. They have great spacing offensively. To go on the road and win shows something.”
WRIGHT STATE (1-0)
at EASTERN (0-1)
Tip-off: 7 p.m. today at Lantz Arena in Charleston
Television: WEIU Channel 51
Radio: WEIU Hit Mix 88.9 FM
Probable Wright State starters: forward – Joe Darling, 6-8 jr. (18 points, 2 rebounds in opener); A.J. Pacher, 6-10 jr. (10 points, 7 rebounds); guards-Reggie Arceneaux, 5-9 so. (10 points, 3 rebounds); Joe Bramanti, 6-2 fr. (0 points, 2 rebounds); Matt Vest, 6-5 jr. (9 points, 2 rebounds)
Probable Eastern Illinois starters: forwards-Sherman Blanford, 6-6 jr. (6 points, 2 rebounds in opener); Josh Piper, 6-8 so. (6 points, 3 rebounds); guards-Austin Akers, 6-2 sr. (6 points, 2 rebounds); Taylor Jones, 6-2 sr. (3 points, 1 rebound); Alex Austin, 6-4 fr. (13 points, 1 rebound)
Notes: J.T. Yoho, a 6-6 freshman, came off the bench to score 17 points in 24 minutes for Wright State in the Raiders’ 80-70 win Friday at Idaho. . .Eastern leads 10-7 in a series that was discontinued following the 1994 season when Wright State left the Mid-Continent Conference. . .EIU is to play in the Eastern Michigan round robin starting with a 6 p.m. Friday game against Eastern Michigan. . .The Panthers’ next home game is a 1 p.m. Nov. 21 game against Rochester.
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