In his second game, junior forward Karrington Ward appears to be finding the right chemistry with his Eastern Michigan University teammates.
“We all get along fine with each other and it is a great vibe with this team,” Ward said.
Ward scored a game-high 17 points on 5-of-10 shooting to go along with seven rebounds in 22 minutes of action to help give EMU back-to-back wins to start the season with a 95-50 win over Concordia University.
Redshirt senior forward Glenn Bryant chipped in with 14 points on 4-of-7 shooting off the bench in 13 minutes.
Redshirt freshman guard Ray Lee scored 12 on 5-of-7 shooting in 18 minutes.
Redshirt junior guard Mike Talley added 10 points on 3-of-6 shooting and a game-high seven assists.
Senior center Da’Shonte Riley rounded out EMU’s scoring with eight points on 3-of-4 shooting to go along with six rebounds and five blocked shots in 24 minutes.
For Concordia, senior guard John Schaeffer led the way with 13 points on 4-of-11 from three-point range and played a game-high 28 minutes.
Senior forward Jesse Schienke added 10 points and six rebounds.
Early misses did not phase EMU as the offense began to churn with Harrison’s lay-up to put them on the board.
The Eagles added two more lay-ups from Talley and Riley to make it to 6-2 in the early stages of the first half.
After a three-point make from junior guard Josh Fugate to cut the Concordia deficit to one, EMU went on a 29-0 run in a span of 12:19.
Ward highlighted the run with 10 points for the Eagles, including two dunks off of alley-oops.
Towards the end of the first of the half with EMU up 40-8, Concordia found life in its offense scoring nine of the last 14 points to go into the half down 45-17.
EMU head coach Rob Murphy talked about the fouls committed that led to Concordia’s mini-run.
“We committed some senseless fouls and gave them nine points to close out the half,” Murphy said. “(However) I thought our guys were active throughout.”
The second half became more wide-open as both teams committed careless turnovers.
Concordia got to within 26 points to the lead and ultimately Eastern pulled away for the 45-point win.
Sophomore guard Jalen Ross was benched by Murphy after taking two careless fouls in the late stages of the first half.
“In that situation, I told Jalen, they’re in the bonus and we are making them struggle to score,” Murphy said. “You just don’t foul there, you have to make them beat us. (Concordia) had eight points at the time and we would have to continued to keep them there. He made a mistake and understood, so we moved forward.”
The Eagles return to the hardwood on Nov. 14 when they take on the Robert Morris University Colonials at the Convocation Center.
In last year’s National Invitational Tournament first-round game, Robert Morris upset the University of Kentucky Wildcats, 59-57.
Senior guard Karvel Anderson is the Colonials’ leading returning scorer with 12.5 points per game.
“Karvel Anderson can really shoot the basketball,” Murphy said. “We are going have to identify where (Karvel) is at all times. They play really good help defense and rebound the ball well.”
Tip-off is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. and can be heard on WEMU 89.1 FM.
Follow Eugene Evans on Twitter: @GenoSportsGuy.