YPSILANTI, Mich. —- It was not a work of art and it was not a smooth game but the results of the game at the finish, made Eastern Michigan University basketball coach Rob Murphy smile.
Eastern Michigan University continued to remain tied for first place in the Mid-American Conference West Division with a 62-59 overtime victory against Western Michigan University, Wednesday night at the Convocation Center.
Eastern Michigan University overcame a much larger and physical team and a Bronco lead with just 1.5 seconds left in regulation when Eagle forward Antonio Green floated through the air like Superman and with a flick of the wrist sent the 1,008 Eastern Michigan University fans into a loud cheer.
“I certainly wanted the ball at the time, especially with the play breaking down. We wanted to get it down low to DaShonte (Riley),” Green said. “I wanted the ball when it broke down and I am comfortable shooting from there. I just go out and do whatever it takes to help us win.”
The Broncos called a timeout and Western Michigan University basketball coach Steve Hawkins gathered his team around him at the bench and drew up a play for Nate Hutcheson.
The clock ticked down and with time expiring Hutcheson caught the perfect pass in the corner and his jump shot found the net and slipped through the bucket sending the game into overtime.
“That shot looked like it demoralized them,” Murphy said about Hutcheson’s shot. “I just wanted them to keep believing.”
Hutcheson finished the game with 21 points for the Broncos.
The Eagles deployed a 2-3 zone defense that kept the Broncos offense out on the perimeter; the defense forced the Broncos into 20 turnovers and held the Broncos to 4 of 19 from behind the three-point arc.
The Broncos shooters hit 43.5 percent from the floor but the zone defense did a good job on getting into position and stopping the three point shot according to Murphy.
“We had 20 turnovers and they scored 25 points off of them,” Hawkins said after the game. “We still had opportunities but missed free throws and open three-pointers.”
“Coach (Murphy) showed us some clips on how we want it to look but really those guys are like pros (Syracuse where Murphy coached) 6-foot -7 wings going out,” Green said about the Eagles zone defense. “The biggest thing is once we bought in and started with the principles well we have success.”
Green led the Eagles with 11 points and J.R. Sims helped the Eagles offense with 10 points and Jamell Harris scored nine points and pulled down 10 rebounds.
Eastern Michigan University three-point offense is in last in the conference at 29.1 percent but against the Broncos defense the Eagles hit half of their three-point shots in the second half. The Eagles finished the game shooting 47.1 percent from three-point land.
Eastern Michigan University’s zone defense is the key to this team’s success and Murphy says the work is still in progress.
The Eagles will continue the campaign Saturday afternoon January 21, 2012 at the Convocation Center against the University of Toledo the game is scheduled to begin 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.