CHARLESTON, Ill. — Josiah Wallace scored 22 points to lead six Eastern Illinois playing in double figure-scoring and the Panthers picked up a narrow 92-88 victory over Western Illinois 92-88 at Lantz Arena on Saturday.
The game also saw Mack Smith tying the NCAA Division I record for consecutive games with a 3-pointer made, according to the Panthers’ website.
Wallace went 7-for-14 from the field and had four rebounds, four assists and two steals in the win.
Sammy Friday IV added 16 points and went a perfect 7-for-7 from the floor for Eastern Illinois (3-4), while Smith made three of his six 3-pointers on his way to adding 13 points.
Marvin Johnson’s balanced day ended with him recording 11 points, 11 rebounds, six assists, three blocks, and two steals for the Panthers, who made their final six free throws to hold off Western Illinois.
Also reaching double-digits on the day were Kashawn Charles with 11 points and Jordan Skipper-Brown, who scored 10 for EIU, which at one point, lead by as many as 21 points.
Meanwhile, Justin Brookens paced Western Illinois with a game-high 37 points, with 28 of them coming in the second half.
Ramean Hinton added 19 points and eight rebounds and Will Carius had 10 rebounds for the Leathernecks (1-4).
Eastern Illinois led 54-33 when Smith knocked down a 3-pointer with 17:42 left in the second half, but they managed to cut the gap to a single point with 0:43 remaining before Wallace and Skipper-Brown made crucial free throws to seal the win.
“Our guys don’t quit, but we’re not a team yet, and that’s on me,” said head coach Rob Jeter. “We finish games and we put runs together, but what hurts us is ourselves.
“We make simple mistakes that we should not make. But honestly, I’m glad we have a bunch of guys that keep fighting.”
Eastern Illinois ended the game shooting 49.3% from the field overall and 42.9% from long-range.
Western Illinois was 40.8% from the floor and took 71 shots. The Leathernecks had just 8 assists on 29 made buckets.
Tamell Pearson, who led the Leathernecks in scoring entering this game, shot only 20% for the game (1 of 5) and was held to three points and five rebounds in 20 minutes.