AKRON, Ohio — Eastern Michigan University men’s basketball road show continue through the good neighbor’s to the south of Ypsilanti, the state of Ohio, Saturday night with a contest against the University of Akron – the leader of the East Division of the Mid-American Conference.
Eagles basketball coach Rob Murphy attempting to get his squad regrouped after dropping a heartbreaker to Miami University in Oxford, Ohio 62-47 overtime defeat Wednesday night February 1, 2011.
Akron’s defense showed why they are the beast in the east, the Zips forced Eastern Michigan University into 15 turnovers in the first half and out rebounded the Eagles 23-15 and took 39-16 halftime score into the locker room.
The Zips continued to dominate the game and defeated Eastern Michigan University 77-47 and sent 4,234 into the damp February Saturday night in Akron.
Easily the worst played half of basketball played by the Eagles this season.
“It is a tough lost to a very good team, a good program, a NCAA Tournament team with most of their guys back,” Murphy said standing in the hallway after the game. “So it was good to see were we are and were I am trying to take this program up close in a venue like this, all though I have been here before it was good to see.”
“We did not play well from the startand the last two days I have told our guys that we have to put Miami behind us but I think the effects of the last three minutes of that game and losing a game that you had in the palm of your hands continue to effect us,” Murphy said. “But I can see it in practice the last two days and I tell the guys you have to pop out of it can’t rest on it and that it’s over.”
Murphy’s game plan against the Zips, simply make Akron play against the zone defense deployed by Murphy.
Murphy hoping that the zone defense can produce some steals and slow down the tempo that is what Bowling Green State University basketball coach Louis Orr said about the Eagles defense after his Falcons fell to the Eagles 55-50 last Saturday night January 28, 2012.
Murphy said before the game, his team needs to limit the touches that post player Zeke Marshall and play a solid defense around the perimeter by getting a hand into the face of Brain Walsh, he is the leading the conference in three point basket.
Marshall is a seven-foot post player that had 19 blocks coming into the game and a scoring average of 10.5 points, University of Akron basketball coach Keith Darmbrot describes as a player improving with every game and that Marshall seems to play better against opponents that are the same size.
“He always played better against bigger people it is hard on a 7-footer guard a 6-7 guy sometime but we go to Mississippi State he plays really well and at Notre Dame he did not score as well,” Dambrot said about Marshall. “When they got a low block guy he plays pretty well.”
Marshall finished the game with 11 points and five rebounds and Walsh scored six points and seven boards. The Zips shot 44 percent for the game and rebounded the Eagles 46-29.
Eastern Michigan University offense led by Matt Balkema scored a career high 15 points and worked hard for six rebounds.
“There is not any thing positive that you can take out of this game, we did not do anything great,” Murphy said about the game. “I thought Antonio (Green) competed for the 37 minutes he was on the floor. I thought Matt competed when he was on the floor, those two guys were the only two that left Miami behind and moved forward and that is sad because that is 15 to 20 percent of our team. We have to have 100 percent of the guys put that behind them.”
Green scored 13 points but made three turnovers, he played well in the zone but Akron offense had four players in double figures.
The Zips were led by Chauncey Gilliam with 13 points and Demetrius Treadwell pulled down nine rebounds to led the Zips under the boards.
“Today our defense what we are built on what we have done all year in each every not do it game we did not do it at all today,” Murphy said about his team’s defense against Akron. “First play of the game this team scored in the middle of our zone and that had not happen all year.”
Eastern Michigan University next game will be a home game against Kent State University.
The game is scheduled for Wednesday February 8, 2012 at the Convocation Center starting at 7 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.