ROCHESTER, Mich. —- Eastern Michigan University men’s basketball team continued their tournament swing in their scheduled by traveling the short distance down Interstate – 75 to the campus of Oakland University and the home of the Lou Henson Tournament and the home of the Golden Grizzlies - the very adorable O’Rena.
The Eagles are shaking off the week of final exams at school and the rust of not playing a game since Saturday afternoon December 11, 2010 when the University of Detroit left the Convocation Center with the bragging rights of Motown basketball supremacy by squeaking out a 68-65 overtime victory against Eastern Michigan University.
Eastern Michigan University opened the tournament Monday afternoon, December 21 against the 7-4 Valparasio University of the Horizon League. The Crusaders and the Eagles have met twice before Monday’s contest with each team having a victory in the series.
The rust showed and the Eagles could never shake the dust off and the offense struggled against Valparaiso sticky man-to-man defense forcing 21 turnovers and forced too many missed shots by the Eagles.
Valparaiso University defeated Eastern Michigan University 74-67 and sending the Eagles to the consolation game, scheduled for Tuesday December 21, 2010 afternoon.
The Eagles defense also showed a great deal of rust too as the Crusaders play makers got behind the green wall and scored 10 points before the seats in the O’Rena were warmed by the fans.
The Crusaders finished the game shooting 51 percent against the Eastern Michigan University defense but Eastern Michigan managed to out rebounded Valparasio 34-30 but the Eagle defense give away 44 points in the paint.
Eastern Michigan University shot 28 percent in the first half and left the floor at halftime trailing Valparaiso University 29-20, Eagle basketball coach Charles Ramsey used a lot of combination looking for any combination of chemistry and somebody able to take charge on the floor at both ends of the court.
The bench players provided 20 points against the Valparasio defense but according to Ramsey there were too many shots from the point guard position and not enough production.
Eastern Michigan University power forward Brandon Bowdry scored 24 points and pulling down 10 rebounds giving Bowdry his 29th career double-double but his hard work and effort was not enough oil and loosen the rust and get the Eagles into the game.
Bowdry twisted his ankle mid-way in the second half but continued to stay with his team on the floor.
Valparasio uses a non-traditional offense and a lot backdoor screens and cuts according to Ramsey and a couple of times the Crusaders caught Eastern Michigan University’s defense flat footed.
“We need to play hard but we also need to play smart,” Ramsey said after the game. “The coaches have done a good job and I am happy with some things but we missed too many defense assignments.”
Valparasio guard Brandon Wood led the Crusaders finishing the game with 21 points and five assist in 27 minutes of playing time.
After watching a big rebound slip through Will Cooper’s hands all Ramsey could do is shake his head in disbelief.
Ramsey said during the game in the second half, “They are out toughing us!” as Ramsey stared down the court. “Some of us do not want to play!”
Eastern Michigan University will play Rochester College Tuesday afternoon in the consolation game of the Lou Henson Tournament at Oakland University the tip off is scheduled for 5:30 p.m.
Ramsey is hoping the Eagles will get a good night rest at the team’s hotel and be ready to prove that this team is smart enough and dedicated enough to turn this season around against Rochester College and the up coming Mid-American Conference schedule.
About the Author
Written by Mel Suiter
Graduated from Eastern Michigan University in 2002 and have been working as a beat writer for The Ypsilanti Courier covering Eastern Michigan University football and men's basketball during my school career and after graduation. I like the Mid-American Conference and the rest of the mid-major conferences.