YPSILANTI —- Let the madness begin!
Eastern Michigan University came home with eight point win against Northern Illinois University inside the palace of the prairie and the home of the Huskies, Wednesday night, Feb 27, 2013 in Dekalb, Illinois.
Eastern Michigan University basketball coach Rob Murphy wanted the winning magic to continue against the Mid-American Conference West Division leading Broncos of Western Michigan University.
It took a little longer than expected but the magic does continue for the Eagles at the friendliest basketball arena in the conference.
The Eagles defeated the Broncos 50-49, in overtime and the Hall of Fame crowd of 1,216 went home happy.
The zone defense worked for the Eagles pushing the Bronco offense to the perimeter-just the way Murphy planned.
Murphy said at the end of the game, he wanted his team to protect their home floor and send a message to the rest of the conference that the Eagles will compete until the end of the season.
“Today was a big win for us, the first place team on our side of the conference coming in here with a lot of confidence,” Murphy said. “We wanted to protect our home floor and make sure we continue to play extremely hard and obviously send a message to everyone else that the season is not over and we will continue to compete till the last game.”
Leading the Eagles in scoring from the floor, forward Glenn Bryant with 15 points and chipping in with 13 points for the Eagles forward Daylen Harrison.
Bryant made his present felt early in the game by scoring the first basket for the Eagles.
“As bad as Glenn Bryant played, I give him a lot of credit for making a big shot late,” Murphy said about Bryant after the game. “He scored 15 but he was very poor defensively but he hit that huge shot in overtime.”
Eastern Michigan University defense forced Western Michigan University into 16 turnovers and the Eagles stole the ball away 10 times and blocked six Bronco shots, all that defense created 17 points for the Eagles.
Murphy said just the present of Da’Shonte Riley in the middle for the Eagles created missed shots and altered shots and that Jamell Harris in the first half controlled the paint and that was huge for the success of the Eagles in the first half.
“(Da’Shonte) Riley I think gave us a lift in the second half,” Murphy said about his 7-foot center. “His presence in the paint, being able to alter some shots and he got a big block and a couple of rebounds to put us in position.”
Riley also delivered two bone crushing picks that sent Bronco’s guard Austin Richie to the floor.
“Western did a great job of playing physical with us,” Murphy said. “I thought that we controlled the game in the first half. We kept them off of the offense glass which they dominated in certain areas during different games they played.’
“I thought our guys stepped up and met the challenge today in particular (Jamell) Harris in the first half and he had a really, really good first half locking up the inside,” Murphy said. “I thought that Derek Thompson at the guard spot and J.R. Sims played a boatload of minutes and did a great job.”
Thompson scored nine points and Sims scored five points for the Eagles and played 37 minutes.
Western Michigan University only had one player in double figures in scoring. Broncos’ power forward Shayne Whittington scored 11 points and hulled in 11 rebounds for the Broncos.
“We made an emphasis on keeping the ball out of the high post and keep them off of the offensive glass,” Murphy said about the ability of the Broncos under the glass.
Western Michigan University came into the Convocation Center leading the conference averaging 30.9 rebounds a game and is second in the league getting and averaging 37.6 offense rebounds.
The Broncos could only get to seven offensive rebounds for the entire game but did out rebound the Eagles 33-32.
The next game for the Eagles will be a road trip to Central Michigan University, March 5, 2013, Tuesday night at the McGuirk Arena inside the Rose Center. The game is scheduled to tip off 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.