Another poor shooting game for the Eastern Michigan University men’s basketball team resulted in a 60-51 loss to Mid-American Conference West Division leader Ball State University on Wednesday night at the Convocation Center.
EMU got the best of BSU by winning both matchups last season so Cardinals head coach Billy Taylor was glad to get out of Ypsilanti with a win last night.
“We have struggled against Eastern in recent years so for us to come in here and get a road win was especially good for our ball club,” Taylor said. “They are a very physical team, they are long and athletic and they put pressure on the basketball.”
After being suspended from the last game for conduct detrimental to the team, Brandon Bowdry returned to action to lead EMU with 26 points and six rebounds. The Eagles (4-13, 1-3 MAC) shot just 31.7 percent from the field and a dismal 15 percent from behind the three point line. The MAC loss is the Eagles third straight.
The Cardinals (12-4, 4-0 MAC) shot 48.8 percent from the field for the game and were lead by Jarrod Jones who scored 15 points and grabbed 8 rebounds. The win is their sixth in a row as they stay unbeaten in league play this season.
Tough Eagles defense would hold BSU’s two leading scorers, in Jauwan Scaife and Jarrod Jones, to just two first-half points combined. The Cardinals withstood eight first-half turnovers by relying on solid bench play and poor Eagle shooting.
“Jarrod and Jauwan came up big for us in the second half but I thought our freshmen gave us great energy off the bench in the first half,” Taylor said.
The Eagles would take an early 12-10 lead off of a Quintin Dailey three-pointer assisted by Bowdry with 14:07 left to play in the first half.
A Jay Higgins free throw with 7:58 left in the first half would even the score at 17 before BSU ended on a 10-4 run sending the Cardinal lead to six, 27-21, at halftime.
In the second half, Jarrod Jones came alive for the Cardinals.
Scaife hit two three-pointers in a row to push the Cardinal lead to nine, 33-24, with 17:29 left in the game.
Then it was Jones’ turn as he hit three straight jumpers to maintain a nine point lead over the Eagles, 39-30, with 12:12 remaining.
“I just wanted to bounce back in the second half,” Jones said. “In the first half, the coaching staff just told me not to worry about it and we were still in the lead in the first half so there was really no reason to get down on myself.”
The Eagles kept fighting back to within single digits but after two free throws by Randy Davis with 5:26 left, the BSU lead was pushed to 11, 49-38.
The Eagles then ran a full-court press in the last few minutes and managed to cut the lead to five, 53-48, off of an Adrian Burton free throw with 2:03 left in the game but, in the end, the bad shooting would get the best of the Eagles as they only hit one of their final four shots.
EMU coach Charles Ramsey was unavailable for comment.
The Eagles continue MAC play against Central Michigan University (4-12, 1-2 MAC) at 2 p.m. Sunday at the Convocation Center