YPSILANTI, Mich. —- They are another beast from the east, the State University at Buffalo. They made the trip across Lake Ontario and the snow covered province of Ontario for a Mid-American Conference show down at the friendliest basketball arena in the league the Convocation Center the home of the Eastern Michigan University Eagles.
The Bulls are looking to sweep the state of Michigan members of the conference. Maybe the Eagles might have a say about that but if history repeats itself, then the Bulls who hold a 9-7 edge in the series could be heading back east to the home of spicy chicken wings and gravy on French fries with a victory.
Eastern Michigan University did not let history dictate the outcome against the University at Buffalo; the Eagles played an inspired game on the defensive end of the court and defeated the Bulls 78-65 Saturday afternoon in front of 1,220 singing and smiling Eagle fans.
“For 40 minutes, there was you know, a tremendous effort, we put everything together,” Eastern Michigan University basketball coach Charles Ramsey said after the game. “We finally closed out a game. We had a lead and we played the last four minutes and did not look up.”
Early in the game Eastern Michigan University tried to establish a transition game and get the Bulls running, the defense dominated the boards for the Eagles and center Jamell Harris blocked two shots before three minutes into the game.
Harris finished the game with 11 points and two rebounds and he blocked five shots his intensity under the basket changed numerous shots by the Bulls.
“That is what he does; he is the anchor of our defense. He is blessed, that is a God given talent and not coaching,” Ramsey said about Harris ability to block shots. “It is coaching when and if we can get his offense up to par and if we get that we got something special.”
The Eagles defense created a lot of confusion for Buffalo’s offense, the middle of the key area and under the basket got thick with white jerseys especially with the long reach of Harris who finished the first half with four blocks.
The strong post play by Harris inspired 6-10 Kamil Janton who came off of the bench and he also forced many Bulls to alter their shots and Harris and Janton’s play inspired the rest of the Eagle offense.
The defense created 16 Buffalo turnovers that produced 19 points by the Eagles.
Midway through the first half, the Eagles offense could not capitalize on opportunities created by the defense. The scoring hit a drought and Buffalo took the lead with 2:59 left in the first half but the defense kept the pressure on the Bulls and the offense found the bottom of the net again to regain the lead with just 41 seconds and took a one point lead into halftime.
“We did a great job on their leading scorers, (Zach) Filezen had 14 points on 15 shoots, (Byron) Mulkey had nine points their leading scorer he was 2 of 10,” Ramsey said talent about his team’s defensive effort. “We did a decent job. It was the best defense combine with our offense.”
In the second half, the offense caught up with the intensity set by the defense and caused the Bulls defense try to keep up with running Eagles.
Leading the charge for the Eagles, Bowdry scored 20 points and six rebounds, chipping and helping Bowdry point guard Darrell Lampley scored 15 points and two assist coming off the bench and he provided the Eagles another option with the ball.
Ramsey is feeling better about his team’s stretch drive toward the end of the season and the conference tournament in Cleveland, Ohio in March.
Ramsey said that fans forget that the Eagles are still a young team growing into a well-rounded team. He said it takes some time to get over having the best point guard in the league but he believes the Eagles are making tremendous strides in becoming a good Mid-American Conference team.
Buffalo dropped some spicy sauce and dripped a lot of gravy down the front of their shirts but the Eastern Michigan University sopped up the win and Ramsey knows that it was a tasty treat.
Eastern Michigan University will visit Mount Pleasant, Michigan Wednesday night, February 16, 2010 and will try a match the same defensive intensity against Central Michigan University and cash in with a victory against the Chippewas. The game is schedule to begin at 7:30 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.