BOWLING GREEN, Ohio — Well it smells like a new building!
Eastern Michigan University men’s basketball team stepped off of the team’s charter bus and into the new Stroh Center for the first time Saturday night with a basketball date against Bowling Green State University.
Eastern Michigan University still stinging from the 60-58, defeat of the Mid-American Conference opener at the home at the Convocation Center, Wednesday night against Ball State University.
Eastern Michigan University played an inspired first half at both ends of the court but it came down to a three point shot made by Bowling Green State University point guard Jordon Crawford with just six seconds left in the game.
Bowling Green State University defeated Eastern Michigan University 46-44, and sent the Eagles to an 0-2 start in the Mid-American Conference.
“We did not capitalize in the first half, we had a chance to go up eight or nine and close out the half but by turning the ball over, missed some lay ups and we gave them more easy shots to stay in the game,” Eastern Michigan University basketball coach Rob Murphy said after the game. “Being on the road you can’t make them mistakes. You have to make your lay ups. Da’Shonte (Riley) missed a few point blank, Matt Balkema missed a few point blank lay ups and our decision with the basketball late. A dribble play for Derek to catch the ball and get to the rim for the last play hopefully put it in overtime. He settled for a three point shot.”
“Kids in different situation, you never know how they react,” Murphy said. “Today we panicked and it came from our more experience players.”
Crawford scored 11 points for the Falcons, four assist, three steals but turned the ball over nine times.
Falcons forward A’uston Calhoun led all scores on the floor with 17 points.
Calhoun scored his 1,000 point in his career in December against Michigan State University and Crawford is following Calhoun with 946 points in career.
“I give them credit, they fought and fought,” Murphy said. “Crawford’s shot at the end it was huge three I give him a lot of guts for even taking a three being down by one at home because they did need it but he is tough guy and that is what tough players do they make game winning plays.”
So Eastern Michigan University just needed to put the past behind them and come into the game refocused and reenergized. In the first half, the Eagles did just that but coming out in the second half the flow of the game turned ugly for the Eagles.
At halftime inside the locker room, Bowling Green State University basketball coach Louis Orr made adjustment offensively for the Falcons by getting the ball under the basket and forcing Eastern Michigan University to collapse the zone and open up the perimeter.
The Eagles defense did force 20 Bowling Green State University turnovers and 13 steals but the Eagles could not score enough points on those transition opportunities.
After a shaky start to game and after many shots that were not close to going through the basket. Eastern Michigan University shooting guard Derek Thompson found his touch in the second half and put the Eagles on his back and he tried to carried the Eagles with 11 points.
“He is capable, he is one of our better scorers coming off of the bench,” Murphy said about Thompson’s contribution. “usually your leading scorer starts the game but he is more comfortable in that roll we want him to continue to be aggressive and be solid. Take good shots, get to the rim and he stepped up and made a big three today.”
The Eagles found that their post players can score some points too, Da’Shonte Riley and Matt Balkema came into the game ready and focused. Riley scored seven points and grabbed 10 rebounds.
“Da’Shonte made some buckets but we still missed some buckets as well,” Murphy said about the Eagles post play. “Inconsistency, we have to step up and be confident in believing in themselves. We throw it down there, I believe that they can do it, they have to do it!”
Balkema scored four points and pulled in two rebounds but he took up space under the basket and forced the Falcon offense out to the perimeter.
“I won’t swallow it is just too nasty,” Murphy said about the defeat against the Falcons. “When you are in position to win you got to take these games Bowling Green did not beat us tonight. We beat our self clearly!”
Eastern Michigan University will be back in action Tuesday night January 15, 2013 at the Convocation Center against Central Michigan University. The tip off against the Chippewas is scheduled for 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.