The Eagles’ four game losing skid ended with a big home win against instate rival Central Michigan on Tuesday. The EMU defense had a season-high 11 blocks to shut down the Chippewa’s, 58-52, to earn their first Mid-American conference win.
Eastern Michigan (8-9, 1-2 MAC) lost their first two conference games to open the season. The Eagles’ lost last week to Ball State at home, 60-58, and to Bowling Green on the road, 46-44, and needed a win against their bitter rival.
“It was great to get out first and get a conference win here.” coach Rob Murphy said on the win. “After being on the other side of the ball in those other games, those were close games and we played well in both games and moving along tonight it was great to get that first win.”
The Eagles’ jumped out to an early lead in this game and controlled throughout ending the first half 30-19. With the win, EMU improves its record to 8-2 at the Convocation Center.
EMU was lead by freshman point guard Jalen Ross, who scored a team high 13 points with three assists. Senior forward Jamell Harris scored 11 and junior Glenn Bryant added 10 in the win.
“It felt great to finally have that break through scoring game that we really needed. The last few games we have really struggled.” Ross said. “We just need to keep shooting and stay confident in the beginning of games.”
Bryant played elite defense in the game; recording a season high five blocks as the entire team was lockdown mode in the paint. “He brought a ton of energy to the floor.” Murphy said. “He rebounded, closed out shots, and his length inside was a difference maker.”
The Green and White defense was able to shutdown the outside shooting of CMU, holding them to six of 26 from behind the arc.
“Playing against a team like this we played really well from the three point line, they shot only 26 percent for the game.” Murphy said, “We need to do a better job stopping offensive rebounds and work at the free throw line but we will get better in those areas.”
The 2-3 zone has been consistent all year but the offense finally started hitting shots, shooting 50 percent for the game.
“Coming back home is always nice, our guys have always been confident” Murphy said. “We had a game where we were able to get open shots, were confident came up and made them.”
Eastern will play host to Miami of Ohio on Saturday at 2 p.m., where the Eagles’ will look to end their 16-game losing streak to the Redhawks.
“Anytime a program has beaten you 16 times you’re looking to remove that.” Murphy said. “ It does not sit well with me at all. I was a part of one of those losses last year but we need to win. We need to defend our home court.”