YPSILANTI, Mich. — What a waste!
That is right nieces and nephews Uncles Mel said it out loud and cannot believe what happen to the Eastern Michigan University men’s basketball team Tuesday night January 11,2011 against Northern Illinois University at the friendliest basketball arena in the Mid-American Conference – the Convocation Center.
The Eagles were looking to validate themselves as a team to be aware of and that opponent’s better take seriously but they laid an egg in the first half against the Huskies and could not recover and lost 71-69.
What was wasted – the 31 point efforts from sophomore transfer student from Southeastern Missouri State University guard Derek Thompson, he scored eight three-point baskets shearing a record that was set back in Dec 1, 2001 by Ricky Cottrill who blistered the nets against Tennessee Tech University.
Matching Thompson’s effort with his own 31 points scored by Northern Illinois University guard Xavier Silas who thought he could match whatever Thompson could throw at the basket.
Silas shot an impressive 11 of 14 from the field which included six three-point shots meanwhile the rest of the Huskies took advantage of playing in the friendliest basketball arena by setting a torch to the nets making 61 percent of their shots – the Ypsilanti Fire Department rolled a couple of engines but it was too late the damage could not salvaged.
“An effort like that, it really goes for naught when you think about it. Derek did a tremendous job but on the flip side, cannot be a cancel-out player,” Eastern Michigan University basketball coach Charles Ramsey said about Thompson’s performance Tuesday night. “You can’t score and then get scored on. He did a tremendous night shooting the basketball but he has to get better on the other end. It’s a team game and we lost.”
What Uncle Mel cannot grasp the concept?
Why the friendliest basketball arena in the conference is so much a pleasant place for everybody who visits the arena but the home team just can’t feel the atmosphere and embrace the ambiance of a home court advantage?
The defeat against Northern Illinois University dose not derail the conference division title drive and getting to Cleveland for an appearance in the Mid-American Conference Tournament there is plenty of basketball left and this is not the time to panic.
The students that attend Eastern Michigan University, the surrounding areas school and the good hard working folks that live in Ypsilanti need to get a ticket and step inside the Convocation Center and purchase a bag of popcorn and a refreshing cold drink, relax and watch a true star in the league Brandon Bowdry – alone he is worth the price of admission.
The opening night of the Mid-American Conference schedule in Toledo the Eagles defeated the Rockets 71-48, Bowdry scored 19 points and pulled down 13 rebounds but against Northern Illinois University Bowdry could only score 16 points and hulled in seven rebounds.
“From what my staff says, he is the most talented player in the league is Brandon Bowdry,” University of Toledo basketball coach Tod Kowalczyk said. “He sure looked like it tonight!”
The Eagles’ next game is Sunday afternoon, January 16 beginning at 2 p.m. inside the loudest arena in the conference and the home of Western Michigan University – the University Gym.
The Broncos opened the conference season with an 63-56 overtime victory over arch-rival Central Michigan University but like the Eagles the second game of league play prove to be a poor shooting night and poor defensive play and the Broncos could not catch Ball State University dropping 72-63 decision to the Cardinals in Muncie, Indiana.
Eastern Michigan University defense will have to rise from the depths of despair and gain control of the tempo against the Broncos because Western Michigan University has a balance offense attack with six players able to score and get into good rebound position on the floor.
“That is what makes them even more dangerous,” Ball State University guard Randy Davis said about the Broncos. “When you have got a team that goes seven deep and they all average eight or nine or 12 point, it is real though.”
Ramsey during the non-conference portion of the schedule used the option of substitution to get his bench into the game and be a factor for future games also making the Eagles a deep and experience bench.
“We are young and trying to figure out how to win close ones,” Ramsey said. “The kids are doing a good job of battling and putting them in position, we just have to figure out a way now to get across that threshold.”
The Eagles will need to be able to play a strong defense and not get intimidated by the loud crowd inside University Gym and not waste a chance to get back into the win column.
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.