The Eastern Michigan University men’s basketball team has had trouble getting going offensively in the past couple games, and Saturday at the Convocation Center was no exception as the Eagles scored only 16 first half points.
Fortunately for EMU, it was able to overcome its poor first-half shooting and missed free throws down the stretch, narrowly securing a victory over visiting Mid-American Conference opponent Ball State 57-53.
The Eagles (10-8, 2-3) shot 9-for-23 from the free throw line, many of the misses coming towards the end of the contest, nearly costing them the game. Eastern had been shooting at a .688 clip as a team from the line heading into the game.
“Horrendous,” Ramsey said. “But you know what, if we’re going to miss them and win, I’ll take it. That’s something we’ve been pretty decent at, so I’m not going to put too much stock into it.”
“I think more than anything it’s mental,” EMU coach Charles Ramsey said of the poor starts on offense. “But we’re getting good looks.”
Behind the 14 first-half points by Malik Perry, BSU (8-9, 2-3) lead Eastern 21-16 in the opening period. Perry ended the game with 17.
Eastern had shots around the basket in the first half, but missed some open layups.
“The thing about layups, layups are very deflating for the offensive team, and very uplifting for the defensive team,” Ramsey said. “I mean we missed layups point blank. In the second half those same shots went in.”
Justin Dobbins helped Eastern find its offensive game in the second half. In his third game back from a broken fibula, he scored 18 points – 16 coming in the second half – to lead all scorers.
With the performance, the senior center thinks he’s fully recovered from the injury that sidelined him for six-straight games.
“I think I’m back,” Dobbins said. “It was a lot of work and effort in practice. Constantly running, you know, working on things I was supposed to be working on.”
His coach voiced a somewhat different opinion on whether or not it was vintage Dobbins out there on Saturday.
“No, not at all,” Ramsey said. “You just don’t get it back. You’re seeing signs, and today was another step. I was really pleased how active he was on the defensive end. He made some big plays in that regard. He’s close, but he still has some work to do.”
Dobbins agreed he was working on defense saying it was his “main focus in the game.”
“That was everything I was working on,” he said. “Just really playing defense and making sure my teammates get good shots.”
The next contest comes this Wednesday against MAC opponent Bowling Green (9-8, 2-3) at the Convocation Center.
Tip off is at 7 p.m.