Eagles men lose close game to MAC rival Western Michigan

The Eastern Michigan University men’s basketball team suffered a tough loss to the Mid-American Conference West Division leading Western Michigan Broncos Wednesday 63-59 in Kalamazoo.

The Eagles (9-10, 2-3 MAC) featured three scorers in double digits. Daylen Harrison scored 15 points along with six rebounds and two blocked shots. Glenn Bryant also had six boards to accompany his 12 points and Jamell Harris scored 10 on 5-of-7 shooting and chipped in six rebounds.

Jalen Ross added nine points, Derek Thompson scored eight on just 3-of-13 shooting and Da’Shonte Riley added six rebounds of his own. Despite a rough shooting night, going only 1-of-8 for two points, J.R. Sims had three steals.

The Broncos (11-7, 3-2 MAC) featured a balanced offensive attack which included four players scoring at least 10 points, led by Shayne Whittington with 14. Darius Paul came up just short of a double-double, scoring 11 and grabbing nine rebounds.

After a very tight opening to the game that saw neither team take a lead of more than three points, the Eagles went on a 9-0 run to take a 21-11 lead with 7:09 until the break. The run was fueled by a three-pointer from Thompson and four-point play by Ross.

The game settled into a back and forth rhythm yet again, until the Broncos went a 9-0 run while down 24-15 to tie the game going into the half, 24-24.

To start the second half, the Broncos continued their run by putting up seven straight before the Eagles scored to take a 31-24 lead, making their combined run 16-0.

The Eagles fought back, though, and pulled within three points, after back-to-back three-pointers by Harrison and Thompson.

The Broncos came right back and scored two quick baskets bring their lead back up to seven.

The Eagles eventually tied the score 45-45 on a layup by Harris with 7:49 left in the game and took a lead, 47-46, but it was the last lead of the game for the Eagles as the Broncos quickly answered with a 5-0 and 6-0 run sandwiched around a Riley jumper to take a commanding 57-49 lead with just under four minutes in the game.

The Eagles couldn’t bring it to a one possession game, coming only as close as 59-55 with just over a minute remaining.

The Eagles continued their inconsistent shooting, hitting on 23-of-58 shots for a 39.7 percent shooting percentage.

The team did manage to out-rebound the Broncos by a 29-26 margin, including 14-12 on the offensive glass and lead in steals, 10-7. The Broncos, though, out-assisted the Eagles 13-7.

The Eagles also racked up the fouls with 18 compared to just 12 for the Broncos.

The Broncos also managed a more efficient night from the floor, shooting 21-of-45 for a percentage of 46.7 percent. WMU also had a decisive advantage in free throws, going 16-of-21 compared to the Eagles 7-of-9.

The Eagles are off until Saturday when the Northern Illinois University Huskies, fresh off a victory over Central Michigan University, come to the Convocation Center. Tip-off is scheduled for 2 p.m.

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