YPSILANTI, Mich. —- Mother Nature decided to powder the outside of the friendliest basketball arena in the Mid-American Conference, the home Eastern Michigan University men’s basketball program the Convocation Center with a lot of soft and fluffy but dangerous snow.
Inside on the court the Eastern Michigan University guard Derek Thompson and Northern Illinois University senior guard Xavier Silas exchange shot per shot as both players lead their team with 31 points but the Huskies ran off of the court with a 71-69 victory.
Thompson is a transfer student-athlete coming to Eastern Michigan University from Southeastern Missouri State University, shot an incredible 8 of 10 behind the arc to tie a Convocation Center record for three-pointers made back in Dec. 1, 2001 by Ricky Cottrill also made eight three-point attempts against Tennessee Tech University.
Silas scored a career-high-tying six three pointers and finished the game going 11 of 14 from the floor the difference though is that the Huskies as a team finished the game shooting a blistering 61 percent from the field while Eastern Michigan University only shot 38 percent from the field.
Silas also got help from his team mates, Tim Toler as he scored 11 points and Nate Rucker added 10 points.
“I thought our guys really played well early in the game and withstood Eastern Michigan early run,” Northern Illinois University basketball coach Ricardo Patton said after the game. “You can play with anybody when you make shots. For awhile in the second half we just exchange baskets and that is importance of having a lead at the half because you come out in the second half and your opponent is making shots, as long as you can exchanges makes, you won’t lose the lead.”
Eastern Michigan University did not get the bench support, as they could only get five points from the players coming off of the bench.
The Eagles started the game shooting poorly and could not overcome a quick start by the Huskies.
Coming back onto the floor for the second half trailing Northern Illinois University 39-26, the Eagles did seem to be focused and began the comeback only to fall short.
Eastern Michigan University basketball coach Charles Ramsey said after his team defeated Toledo Saturday night his team will have to validate the victory.\
Ramsey saw his team fight through adverse condition, they showed character and did not just give up – they forced the Huskies to play a competitive complete game.
With 3:23 left in regulation, the Eagles cut the lead down 62-60 but the Huskies defense shut down any chance for the Eagles to produce a miracle comeback because Northern Illinois University forward Jeremy Landers hit a clutch basket from the right elbow pushing the lead back to four points.
With one last effort to get the game either to overtime or a win Thompson with just 18 seconds left made the score 68-66 but the Eagles forced to foul put the best foul shooting team in the conference in position to nail down the win.
Northern Illinois University senior guard Michael Patton and Landers made the foul shot giving the Huskies uncatchable lead despite Thompson hitting another three point basket as time expired.
Eastern Michigan University next game will be Sunday afternoon when the Eagles travel to Kalamazoo, Michigan and face Western Michigan University, the game is scheduled to tip off at 2 p.m.
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.