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Panthers open conference play with a win

Panthers open conference play with a win

The Panthers started conference play this past Saturday, Jan. 14, with a 84-80 win over Iowa Lakes. ECC was sitting with a 7-7 record going into the game. Although the record is not quite what the Panthers expected, they have made considerable improvements and look to continue conference play with an eye on the conference championship.

Head Coach Troy Muilenburg commented, "All games up to this point have been played to see what we need to do as a team to win our conference."
In addition to Iowa Lakes, the Panthers open up the regular season playing the other two teams that tied for the conference championship last season with a 10-2 record.  The Panthers travel to #16 Kirkwood next, and then host a home game against #2 Southwestern. 

"The great thing about playing these teams this early is that we get an immediate idea of where we are in terms of the conference play and can make any adjustments early in the schedule and be ready for the conference tournament at the end of the season," says Coach Muilenburg. 

The Panthers maintain some scoring balance with three players in double figures: Keeon Johnson leads ECC averaging 13.6 points a game, while Mike Evans and Amel Kuljuhovic average 11.2 and 10.2 respectively.  Evans leads the Panthers in rebounding with 6.5 a game, and Kevin Spencer is leading the team in assists with 2.9 per game. 

"We have been getting better as the season goes, but I am waiting for us to become a collective unit – a true team," says Coach Muilenburg. "We have flashes of that at times on the court where we look and sound great, but that needs to be an all-the-time thing. Going forward we need to have that trust that our teammate will be there when we need them, on every possession in practice and games." 

During the game against Iowa Lakes, Tavares McGlaun led the team in scoring with 20 points, followed closely by Johnson with 19. Kuljuhovic led the Panthers in rebounding with 13.

The Panthers will travel to Kirkwood on Wednesday, Jan. 18 with tip-off at 7:30 pm and will host Southwestern on Saturday, Jan. 21 beginning at 3 pm.