Eastern Illinois basketball ended the day with a split at Southeast Missouri on Saturday. The win by the EIU women improved them to 4-1 in the OVC. The men fell at SEMO dropping to 2-3 in the league.
Here's our take on the women's game which EIU won 68-43.
Player of the Game
Ta'Kenya Nixon was the star for the Panthers in this contest collecting her third double-double of the season. Nixon had 13 points and 12 rebounds (6 offensive, 6 defensive). While her career high at this point is only 25, you see glimpses that at some point in her Panther career Nixon could score 40 in a night.
What We Learned
* EIU responded well as they fell behind SEMO 7-0 in the opening minutes and couldn't find a shot to fall. Nixon scored the next seven points for EIU as the Panthers posted an 18-0 run and never looked back.
* Mariah King returned to form as she scored a game high 17 points marking the 13th time this season she has scored in double figures.
* When the Panthers can win the battle on the boards they usually win. EIU won the battle on the glass by a 39-28 margin including 14 offensive boards.
EIU will host Eastern Kentucky on Thursday followed by a big show down with Morehead State on Saturday at 4 p.m. That game could be for the leg up in the early OVC standings.
Now here is our quick take on the men's game which EIU dropped 78-75 contest.
Player of the Game
Shaun Pratl was the Panthers player of the game helping EIU pick up a 44-29 halftime lead with nine of his 15 coming in the first half. In a physical game taking the ball down low proved to be the difference in the game.
What We Learned
* The officials were going to credit drives to the basket. 61 total fouls were called (37 on EIU, 24 on SEMO). EIU shot 23 free throws, SEMO was awarded 44 free throws.
* The Panthers featured some balance on the night as all 12 players in uniform scored. Three players finished in double figures.
* Jeremy Granger increased his consecutive free throw streak to 17 with a pair of makes late in the contest.
At the start of the season many thought the Panthers Saturday contest with Morehead State might be a crucial game to see if EIU could make a jump into the top two in the league. Instead due to some injuries this week's Thursday contest with Eastern Kentucky is probably more important as both teams are looking for wins to help lock up a top eight OVC finish to make the tourney.
Where We Ate
When we make these road trips with the team we will through in our stop along the way for food - just in case you are making the same trip in the future. We hit 17th Street BBQ in Marion on the way down. Had the Pulled Pork Sandwich which was great as always along with some creamed corn and baked beans.
Tidbit of the Day
I was following the Mid-Majority on Twitter during the game and they person doing the hits for the day was catching a doubleheader at the Gentile Center in Chicago. While the gym is the home for Division I Loyola-Chicago since it sits on the Loyola campus just off of Lakeshore Drive. It also serves as the home basketball court for Robert Morris College of Chicago - an NAIA member of Chicagoland Collegiate Conference. While Loyola lost at home to Wright State, Robert Morris blew out East-West University 122-80. If you thought school's had issues with being directional with just one name like Eastern, Western or Northern - how confused do you think fans of East-West University are. By the way its located in Chicago on the South Loop.