Eastern Illinois beats North Alabama in nonconference finale
CHARLESTON, Ill. (AP) — Mack Smith scored a season-high 21 points with seven rebounds, Shareef Smith added a career-high 20 points with six assists and Eastern Illinois defeated North Alabama 81-70 on Sunday.
Ben Harvey added 13 points and Cam Burrell had 11 points and 10 rebounds for his first double-double for the Panthers (7-6), who shot 48 percent, made half of their 14 3-point attempts and sank 24 of 32 free throws.
The Lions (3-12), who arrived in Charleston late Saturday night after a 96-51 loss to Gonzaga in Spokane, Washington, on Friday night, were led by Jamari Blackmon with 19 points and Christian Agnew with 16. Kendall Stafford added 11 points and nine rebounds and Emanuel Littles 10 points and nine rebounds.
Smith’s 3-pointer gave the Panthers a 38-35 halftime edge and Eastern Illinois held the lead throughout the second half.
While Eastern Illinois now opens Ohio Valley Conference play, the Lions play at North Florida in their first-ever Atlantic Sun Conference game on Saturday. North Alabama has lost five straight, is 0-11 on the road and is still seeking its first Division I victory this season.