The Eastern Michigan University men’s basketball team beat the Akron Zips, 60-56, at the Convocation Center last night.
The cross-divisional win puts EMU at 3-5 in the Mid-American Conference and 6-15 overall, while dropping Akron to 3-5 in the MAC and 12-10 overall.
“Good win, great job by the kids,” EMU coach Charles Ramsey said. “They showed great resiliency and we really grew up when Akron went on that 11-0 run and we came back and went on a run of our own.”
The game started off slow for both teams as the score stayed tied at two points apiece until four minutes in, when Akron was sent to the free throw line. Sophomore Zeke Marshall made one-of-two from the line to put the Zips up 3-2, which turned out to be the Zips only lead of the first half.
The low-scoring first half had the Eagles heading into the locker room with a 27-19 lead.
The Akron Zips came out firing in the second half, going on an 11-0 run to take the lead 30-27. After a timeout, EMU went on a 12-2 run of its own run, including six points by Senior forward Brandon Bowdry, who also added another double-double to his list of accomplishments during the game.
Akron countered with a quick two, but EMU remained in the driver’s seat as Quintin Dailey and Derek Thompson sunk back-to-back three-pointers to push the EMU lead to nine points.
Mid-way through the second half, Akron converted on a three-point play thanks to a dunk by Marshall, who led his team with 15 points while snatching seven rebounds, and a foul called on Bowdry. Marshall would make his one free throw to bring the Zips within four (39-35).
From there EMU went on a 10-0 run, increasing its lead to 49-35.
The Eagles could have put the game further out of reach as both Dailey and Jay Higgins were sent to the free throw line for three shots each after being fouled from beyond the arc, but converted just one-of-six free throws combined.
“That’s mental. We work on free throws at the start, in the middle and at the end of practice and that’s just something that’s mental,” Ramsey said. “If we go 6-for-6, we can put [the game] away and it’s not even close down to the last two and a half minutes.”
The Zips stormed back bringing it within two with 44 seconds remaining.
The Eagles struggled on the defensive boards in the final seconds of the game, giving Akron many second chance opportunities. However, clutch free throw shooting from Bowdry and junior guard Darrell Lampley kept the Zips at bay as they tallied seven points on eight opportunities from the stripe in the final minute to seal the deal.
The Eagles hit 20 field goals in the game, 17 of those coming off assists.
Bowdry had a team-high 25 points and grabbed 12 rebounds while Thompson chipped-in nine points of his own.
Akron forward Nikola Cvetinovic pulled down a season-high 16 rebounds while posting 13 points.
Ramsey noted he was very happy with the assist-to-turnover and assist-to-field goal ratio, meaning that his players were sharing and passing the ball to guys with open looks while staying in control of the ball.