YPSILANTI —- Eastern Michigan University basketball coach Rob Murphy and his assistants laced up their sneakers and dusted the dust off of their suits and added their support of the National Association of Basketball Coaches designated Coaches vs. Cancer Suits and Sneakers Weekend.
Eastern Michigan University dusted off and dominated Northern Illinois University 42-25, in front of 888 helping with the fight against cancer at the Convocation Center.
Describing the game-the word ugly could be used or maybe pitiful could be used also, but what ever the adjective you want to use the game was just ugly.
“With us we are not a great scoring team anyway and I understand that going in, so for us to weave and slow it down a little bit and protect the lead sometime that is part of our game plan,” Murphy said. “In most cases that is we are the best, that power punch scoring ability from one individual. So I knew when we went up 12 or 13 points in the second half we just had to manage the game. Take good shots and really depend on our defense to continue to hold them which we did.”
During the game, Northern Illinois University missed 37 straight shots, only scored four points in the first half, had eight shots blocked by Eastern Michigan University defenders and made just one bucket from beyond the three-point arc after taking 33 shots from behind the arc.
For the game Northern Illinois University took 61 shots only making a total of eight buckets, that is a shooting percentage of 13.1 for the game.
Huskies guard Daveon Balls led the Northern Illinois University offense with seven points.
Murphy must be wondering on the sideline, if the Huskies can play so bad then the Eagles should be playing with confidence and be dominating?
“It is always good to protect your home floor, always good to get a MAC win no matter who you playing against,” Murphy said. “Just going back to the last game. I thought that being down against Western, we had a chance to win that game. We were in control of it, the first half turnovers just a few times and fought to the end but we couldn’t get it, so we wanted to come back and protect our home floor.”
“Northern Illinois had really two good road wins against Miami and also Central Michigan,” Murphy said. “Knowing that coming in we felt that they were capable.”
The offense for the Eagles struggled finding points too, Eagles forward Derek Thompson had an off night but Murphy said after the game that the Huskies defense forced Thompson into uncomfortable situation on the floor.
“I give Northern Illinois a lot of credit everything was predicated on stopping Derek Thompson, there was no help everybody played the seams,” Murphy said about Thompson’s game. “Whenever he was in a screen situation or ball dribble hand off situation they would switch or double some. I give them a lot of credit for being physical with him and kind have taking him out of the offense.”
“He got a little frustrated and tried to shoot some basketball he should not have shot,” Murphy said. “A couple of bad shots he wanted to get a couple of looks so it was a couple of both Northern Illinois did a good job scouting report defense how they wanted to take him away and they did and he shot a few bad shots.”
Thompson finished the game with five points, leading the Eagles in scoring forward Glenn Bryant, he scored 10 points and the only Eagle to score in double figures.
“We felt that we had a size advantage, which I felt early on especially in the game it took them a while to get adjusted,” Murphy said. “We did not allow them to shot open shots and we were able to keep them off the glass.”
Both teams finished with 42 rebounds including Northern Illinois University collecting 23 offensive rebounds. Eagles post player Matt Balkema led all players with eight rebounds.
“For the most part we imposed our size on them defensively,” Murphy said. “We did a good job the first half and I thought moving forward in the second half we concentrated little bit more on scoring the ball. We had opportunities we just missed some open shots.”
Eastern Michigan University will take to the road and cross over into the East Division of the Mid-American Conference. The first stop will be Wednesday night January 30, 2013 in Athens, Ohio and the Convocation Center the home of the Ohio University Bobcats.
The game against the Bobcats is scheduled to tip off at 7 p.m.
The second stop of the road trip will be Saturday night February 2, 2013 from Kent State University. The game against the Golden Flashes is scheduled to state at 6 p.m. at the MAC Center.
“We have to stay confident and believe in ourselves and be dedicated and continue to work hard everyday and at some point we will break through,” Murphy said. “It would not be a better time than Wednesday to break through against Ohio they are at the top of the MAC now a sweet 16 team obviously we beat them last year here in this building and I am sure that they have forgotten that they have the same guys last year.”
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.