Goodbye Trae Anderson

Trae Anderson’s college basketball career ended suddenly Thursday night.  Eastern Illinois (13-17) was rudely bounced from the OVC Tournament by Murray State, 78-62.

He reflected exclusively with after the loss.

“Just disbelief,” began Anderson.  “Coming in here expecting to win and coming up short of your goals.  Just disbelief.”

In his final game Anderson finished with six points, six rebounds, and three turnovers.  He did not attempt a shot in the opening half and Head Coach Jay Spoonhour attributed that to exceptional defense by the Racers.

“They guarded us really well,” said Coach Spoonhour.  “I think they played really hard.  Defensively they took us out of stuff that we have been able to do all year.”

Anderson was not the only Panther who struggled to score.  As a unit the squad made just nine baskets before the break.  When Demetrius McReynolds caught fire it was too big of a hole to dig out.

“We came here a confident team, knowing we can beat anybody in this conference,” said Anderson.  “We just came up short.  They had a good game plan.  They got us out of our offense.  They killed us inside.”

Looking Back

Anderson accomplished a lot in his time in Charleston, Illinois.  He finished with 831 points, 298 rebounds in two seasons.  He gave 10 twenty-point games to the cause.

Twice Trae made All-OVC (2nd Team in 2015, 1st Team in 2016).  He was a part of 31 wins, including road overtime victories at Austin Peay and UT Martin.

What changes has the program enjoyed since Anderson arrived in 2014?

“Compared to when I got here we are a closer-knit group,” said Anderson.  “We do everything together.  The chemistry is there.    We all got the right pieces.”

The Panthers are now considered an OVC Tournament team every year.  Now they have earned an OVC Tournament berth four straight years and the young team will return most of their starters and a bunch of their bench.

“We have a bunch of guys on the bench that don’t play, come to games prepared…come to practice prepared,” said Anderson.  “For them to sit on the bench has definitely helped.  I think next year will be good.”

Coach Spoonhour concurs.

“It was a good year regardless of what anybody is going to is a good year.”

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