Due to the start time of the Eastern Illinois men’s basketball game against Austin Peay, the full story was unable to get in by deadline. The full story can be found at www.jg-tc.com and will be in Saturday’s paper.
EVANSVILLE, Ind. -- There’s very few ways the first half could’ve gone any better for the Eastern Illinois men’s basketball team in the Panthers Ohio Valley Conference quarterfinal game against Austin Peay on Thursday.
Austin Peay owned two wins against EIU this season, but the Panthers were the ones who came out with confidence. A hot start helped the Panthers go into halftime with a 40-26 lead.
The Panthers got a layup from Mack Smith to start the game and then Smith got a steal and a layup. On the next possession, Ray Crossland knocked down a three-pointer and EIU took a quick 7-0 lead. EIU led for the rest of the first half.
EIU went on to make their first six shots of the game, including two from behind the arc, and hit both free throws to take an early 17-5 lead on Austin Peay with 16:56 left in the first half.
Austin Peay’s defense started to recover and after scored 17 points in the first 4 minutes of the game, EIU was held to seven points over the next 9 minutes. But EIU’s defense held Austin Peay in check and still had a 27-17 lead with 8:31 left in the half.
Shortly after, Crossland picked up his second foul of the half. Crossland had 10 points at the time and was guarded APSU leading scorer Terry Taylor, who was held scoreless during that span.
Without Crossland, the rest of the Panthers stepped up on the defensive end. Terry only had three first-half points on 1-of-5 shooting. As a team, Austin Peay was 10-of-31 from the field in the first half with nine turnovers. EIU had 10 points off turnovers.
The Governors did make a push late in the half after a bucket by Averyl Ugba, who had 14 first-half points, and a layup by Taylor, his first of the game, cut EIU’s lead to 31-25 with 4:10 left in the half.
EIU held Austin Peay to only one point for the rest of the half and ended it on a 9-1 run. Jajuan Starks made a free throw, Davantae’ Price made an easy layup after a nice pass from D’Angelo Jackson, Smith his a wide-open three-pointer after an offensive rebound by Price and Montell Goodwin hit a floater and was fouled. He completed the three-point play to give EIU a 40-26 lead going into halftime.
Smith was 5-of-6 shooting in the first half with 14 points. Goodwin and Crossland each had 10 points.