YPSILANTI, Mich. —- The surprise that the University of Arkansas-Little Rock wanted to deliver for the Eastern Michigan University basketball team Friday night at the coziest basketball arena in the Mid-American Conference-the Convocation Center was not ancient history repeating – in fact it really was no surprise at all!
The trip into the city and to the campus of Eastern Michigan University is the first time that the Trojans have visited the city of Ypsilanti and journey into the state of Michigan; they did not adapted well to the surrounding of the city named after the famous freedom fighter the Greek general Demetrios Ypsilanti
The result of the game is the only thing that reflected any kind of beauty for the Eastern Michigan University as the Eagles went to war against the Trojans and it was not a reflection of ancient Greek art, the Eagles defeated the University of Arkansas-Little Rock 62-51 in front of 692 appreciating basketball fans.
Both teams are participating in the Michigan State University basketball tournament the Auto-Owners Spartan Invitational. University of Arkansas-Little Rock hosted Indiana University-Purdue University-Indianapolis and beat the Jaguars 75-70, Tuesday night in Little Rock, Arkansas.
Eastern Michigan University opened the invitational by accepting an invitation to the city of Houston, Texas Tuesday night November 15, 2011 and the Eagles faced a very quick and dead-eyed shooters playing for Texas Southern University. The Tigers defeated the Eagles 66-49 because Eastern Michigan University allowed the Tigers to shoot a blistering 70 percent from the floor in the second half.
Describing the first half action of the contest both coaches would not call it a work of art, in fact it might be safe to say that the game at that point became like most masterpieces of art – a work in progress.
The Eagles shot 27 times in the first half that could be encouraging to look at but the sad fact is that the Eagles could only make seven baskets that equal poultry 25.9 percent from the field.
The Trojans only had 17 shots and they also made seven baskets but they did not miss from the free throw line getting there six times and took a 23-22 halftime lead into the locker.
Eastern Michigan University basketball coach Rob Murphy did not appreciate the art of offense basketball that the Eagles presented on the floor in the first half- a lot of missed lay ups and shots from under the basket.
Eastern Michigan University first half defense forced the Trojans into 13 turnovers that created 12 points for the Eagles. The Eagles finished the game by forcing the Trojans into 21 turnovers. University of Arkansas-Little Rock basketball coach Steve Shields felt that his team did not play what he is accustom to seeing and the turnovers committed by his squad he believed is uncharacteristic.
Murphy’s defense worked hard and he said he thought that his team executed the game plan with precision.
“We were active in our zone, I think that our centers did a good job holding down the middle and our forwards did a great job in finding their shooters and so did our guards,” Murphy said about his team’s play on defense. “Arkansas-Little Rock plays a four out and some time five out offense which is though to cover while you are in a zone because you have so many shooters on the floor and our guys did a nice job of locating their shooters.”
The start of the second half the Eagles came out ready for better half of basketball.
“It takes some energy and aggression because when you mention zone people do not realize that it is very aggressive,” Murphy said. “Our guys were told today make sure that we tag (Chuck) Guy one of their better shooters and keep (D’Andre) Williams out of the gaps of the zone and I think that we did a good job at doing so and making it though for the ball to get inside and not allowing them to get lay ups and making them kick out to a contested three point shot.”
Guy finished the game with eight points and seven rebounds, Williams scored 11 points and five assist for the Trojans.
The offense found a perimeter game from beyond the thee-point arch delivered by Derek Thompson and the defense fed off of the success of the offense and like the Greek God Zeus Eagle point guard Darrell Lampley placed his team on top of his shoulder and scored 21 points.
The defense rally around the play of post player Matt Balkema and the rest of his team mates in the 2-3 zone defenses created no space for the Trojans. Balkema scored eight points but his ability to stay in the game created many Trojans shots to be altered at the point of release.
“Our defense is our bread and butter this year, we do not have a go-to guy obviously Lampley led us tonight but on any given night any body can lead us in scoring,” Murphy said after the game. “I know collectively with five guys we all can play defense we have principal and if we execute them that are out on the floor we should be in every game that we play.”
Eastern Michigan will continue the Auto-Owners Invitational November 2o,2011 Sunday afternoon at 4 p.m.inside the Jungle the home of the IUPUI Jaguars.
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.