Big night for Brown leads
Panthers to third straight win
By Shayne Combs,
The Southeastern Panthers entered their eleventh game of the
season Friday night in search of their fifth overall win – a win
that would better last year's win total with still half of the SVC
season in front of them. The Panthers earned that win thanks to
a fast start as the blue and white never looked back on their way
to a third straight victory with a 56-36 win at Zane Trace.

The first quarter tempo was a result of a few things. One, the
Southeastern zone was doing a nice job of closing down the
middle, and it was forcing Zane Trace to settle for jump shots.
On the other end, the story was Michael Brown. Brown simply
had his way Friday night as he posted 29 points and nine
rebounds. The junior was 11-of-18 from the field as he used a
big first half to help the Panthers open up a 27-14 halftime

A big coaching decision for SE head coach Kyle Uhrig came in
the second quarter. Brown picked up his second foul about a
minute into the second period forcing him to the bench. At the
time, SE was up 17-9. Often times, you will see coaches become
quite stubborn with their rules in terms of handling foul trouble,
and they will sit their star for the remainder of the half. In this
situation, Coach Uhrig allowed Brown to return to the floor at
the six-minute mark, and Brown responded with seven points
over the next three minutes to help stretch Southeastern’s
lead to 27-12. Brown then returned to the bench and SE was
able to eventually take the before mentioned 27-14 advantage to
the locker room.

Brown continued his fine play in the second half, but there were
several other players who contributed in a positive way.
Sophomore Nick Kellough, who battled some foul trouble of his
own, scored 14 points. Will Gullion added nine points and
grabbed 11 rebounds.

Perhaps the brightest spot for SE was point guard Steven Hall.
Hall had five points and nine assists. I believe moving forward
the consistency of Hall is going to be the key factor for the
Panthers. Any fan who follows a variety of SVC sports
understands how special of athlete this kid is, and the more
confident he becomes in running this team the more explosive
this offense can be.

As for Zane Trace, the defending champs have had a rough go of
it in the first half of the season, but I think fans need to be open-
minded in evaluating this team. First, the two experienced pieces
– Joel Tripp and Colton Whitehouse – who returned for ZT
have been unable to stay healthy. You take the two starting
guards off of any team in the league and they are going to
struggle. Secondly, Zane Trace has played a non-league schedule
which includes Africentric and Logan Elm, so that doesn’t
do the overall record any favors.

One of the incredible stats in this year’s SVC league is a stat
that head coach Bryan Alley has alluded to on a couple of
occasions concerning the free throw line this season. Through
the first half of the season, ZT’s opponents have shot over
100 more free throws than the Pioneers. To be honest, when
you watch Zane Trace play you can see why this stat reads the
way it does. First, on the defensive end the Pioneers have
trouble matching up with elite, versatile players. Tonight,
Brown simply had his way. He was a tough match for ZT to
play one-on-one. Brown was able to get to the foul line eight
times, and even when he didn’t score, he was often times
drawing a second defender which put ZT out of position to
rebound. Secondly, it is not surprising that Zane Trace shoots a
nice percentage from the line because the team has a lot of solid
shooters; however, it also doesn’t surprise me that they do
not get to the line that often because this is a team that seems to
fall in love with the perimeter shot. This team has four or five
guys who can score from the outside, but the Pioneers never
really established any offense in the paint or at the rim.
Throughout the season, Wes Beam has supplied some points in
the paint, but I would like to see a few of the guards grow into
their offensive potential and use some dribble penetration to
create some easier scoring opportunities.

If there is a silver lining to the ZT injuries, it would be that
several guys are being forced into some bigger roles. This is
going to help Zane Trace down the stretch this season, and this
talented junior class is going to return next season with a chance
to really make a move in the SVC standings. Keep in mind
several of the top teams this year will be hit hard by graduation,
and teams like Westfall, Huntington, Zane Trace, and
Southeastern are going to have several key pieces returning.