Coming off consecutive losses to top-10 ranked teams at Duke and Syracuse, Eastern Michigan University returned to the Convocation Center Saturday seeking a win in its final non-conference game of the regular season.
Shooting 59.6 percent from the field and outrebounding Rochester College 43-25, the Eagles splashed a 38-point win over the Warriors, 92-54.
“To end the non-conference schedule with a convincing win is good,” EMU coach Rob Murphy said. “It was good to see us come out and continue to get stops and play well on offense.”
While Rochester’s loss dropped it to 11-7, the Eagles moved up to 8-5 giving them the fourth-best record among Mid-American Conference teams as of Saturday.
EMU went on a 31-7 run in the first 9:52 of the second half to extend a 13-point lead to 37. That was topped off by a three-pointer from guard Darell Combs, who had 12 points off the bench.
“I thought he had a really poor first half. He missed a few layups and he turned the ball over,” Murphy said. “To see him bounce back in the second half was really good.”
Forward Karrington Ward led the offense with 14 points, but four others had double-digit totals, including Combs with 12, Raven Lee with 11, Glenn Bryant with 10 and Daylen Harrison with 10.
“Nobody really got into a rhythm,” Murphy said. “We had [90-plus] points, but we still didn’t find a rhythm and nothing was flowing.”
The Eagles created scoring opportunities by gaining ball possession from defensive rebounds, especially after missed three-point attempts. The Warriors went 9-for-39 beyond the arc, which helped EMU total 31 defensive rebounds.
Among Rochester’s three-point shooters was guard Stavros Schizas. The senior led the Warriors offense with 15 points, 13 of which were in the first half. He also had five rebounds and three turnovers.
The Eagles received help from their big-man Da’Shonte Riley who racked up 14 total rebounds, 10 of which were defensive. He also had a block and a steal credited to him.
After guard A.J. Burton hit a jumper to pull Rochester within two 6:51 into the first half, Harrison answered with a layup, which sparked the Eagles’ offense. Another Harrison layup later in the half put EMU ahead 28-17.
Burton hit another three-pointer with 47 seconds left in the first half to pull the Warriors within 13 at halftime, 41-28.
Riley’s 14 rebounds is a game-high this season. He had 4 offensive and 10 defensive, which are both game-highs this season, as well.
Combs scored 10 straight points in a 1:23 span midway through the second half.
Eastern Michigan shot 73.9 percent from the field as a team in the second half.
EMU’s largest lead was by 41 with 8:09 remaining in the second half.
Rochester had five free-throws all game, yet made all five.
EMU had 29 fast break points to Rochester’s 5.
The game attendance was recorded at 429.
The Eagles start their conference games this Wednesday, Jan. 8 at the Stroh Center, visiting Bowling Green State University (6-7). Tipoff is at 7 p.m.
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