The Eastern Michigan University men’s basketball team continued the first ever EMU Ice Man Classic as they took on three teams in three days starting Nov. 16 with the Eastern Illinois University Panthers.
After defeating the Rochester College Warriors 66-52 Nov. 9 and falling to Jacksonville State University Nov. 11 outside of the tournament 61-54, EMU beat the Panthers 60-52, giving them an overall record of 2-1 early in the season.
The most recent matchup between the two teams was back in 2006 with EMU coming out as the victors.
EMU started the game by winning the tip off and making a three point shot from senior Derek Thompson.
Only minutes later EMU forward redshirt junior Glenn Bryant earned
the Eagles two additional points off of a fast break dunk assisted by Thompson. This made the score 5-1, forcing EIU to take a timeout with 17:35 left in the first half.
The timeout was followed by EMU junior Da’Shonte Riley committing his second foul of the night. EIU finally made a three-pointer, bringing the score to a close 5-4. EMU soon recovered with another three-point shot from Thompson.
The Panthers took the lead after EIU senior Malcolm Herron shot a three-pointer and a jump shot in the paint with less than a minute between each other. EIU then claimed a one point lead and the Eagles took a timeout with less than ten minutes left in the first half.
The Eagles turned the ball over multiple times allowing EIU to score six points off of turnovers, compared to the two that EMU earned in the first half.
The Panthers and Eagles fought for a big lead with neither of them receiving it. The two teams tied four times in the first half alone with the Panthers leading at the break 26-23.
The Eagles came out and turned the game around in the second half. Thompson scored the opening point of the second half with yet another three-point shot, assisted by freshman guard Jalen Ross. Thompson’s shot tied the score at 26-26.
When Thompson missed a three-point shot, teammate Bryant rebounded the ball and put it right back up to earn the Eagles two additional points with 18:31 left in the game.
The Eagles held a slight lead until senior Matt Balkema committed a technical foul allowing EIU to tie the game at 35-35 with two good free throws from Herron.
The Panthers soon possessed an eight point lead over the Eagles with 10:36 left in the game. The Eagles were anxious to chip at the Panther lead and regain control.
Bryant helped EMU close the gap with a jumper in the paint to cut the EIU lead down to six points. After being fouled by EIU’s Alex Austin, Thompson went to attempt three shots at the free throw line and hit them all.
The Panthers retained the lead until the Eagles tied it at 48-48 with a free throw shot by Harrison. EMU recovered from their earlier struggles to get and keep the lead and eventually won the
Thompson led the team in scoring with a season-high of 22 points, followed by teammate redshirt junior Daylen Harrison adding 18 points to the score board. Thompson and Harrison went 5-5 and 11-11 at the free throw line, respectively.
Defense for the Eagles was led with ten blocks from senior Jamell Harris. Following close behind, Riley and Bryant had three and two blocks, respectively.
The Eagles will continue their competition with games against the Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne Mastodons Nov. 17 and the University of Texas Pan-American Broncs Nov. 18.