Eagles miss multiple opportunities against NIU

Eastern Michigan head coach Rob Murphy calls out the play in the Eagles 61-59 double overtime loss to Northern Illinois Thursday in Dekalb.

Even with defensive anchor Da’Shonte Riley fouling out with 3:37 left in the first overtime, Eastern Michigan University head coach Rob Murphy believed his team could pull out the victory.

With six seconds remaining and the game tied at 59, Darrell Bowie missed his second free-throw shot as the ball slipped out of Karrington Ward’s hands on a rebound attempt.

At the right place at the right time, Bowie ended up grabbing the rebound and his shot never hit the rim, but Jordan Threloff managed to thwart off Daylen Harrison for the game-winning tip-in with 0.9 seconds left.

Murphy summed up EMU’s 61-59 double overtime loss to Northern Illinois University Thursday night as a missed opportunity.

“We had multiple chances to win the game,” Murphy said. “Again, I give (NIU) a lot of credit, but we were in position three or four times to seal the game.”

Riley, the reigning Co-Mid-American Conference West Division Player of the Week had a game to remember as he made seven points, grabbed 13 rebounds, blocked four shots and had two takeaways in a season-high 37 minutes.

“Da’Shonte Riley had a decent game defensively,” Murphy said. “Once Riley fouled out, Threloff went to work and we greatly missed his presence.”

Mike Talley scored a team-high 17 on 5-of-20 shooting and 7-for-12 from the foul line.
Six of Karrington Ward’s 13 points came in the two overtime periods.

For the Huskies (12-13, 6-7 MAC West), Threloff recorded his first career double-double with 27 points and 18 rebounds.

Aaric Armstead also finished with a double-double in points (13) and rebounds (10).

From the field, EMU shot 17-of-63 (27 percent) from the field, while NIU went 18-for-62 (29 percent).

Both teams went a combined 9-of-51 in the first half (EMU- 4-for-23) (NIU- 5-of-28) as the score was 16 all at halftime.

EMU opened the second half on a 17-8 run as its lead increased to 33-24, with 11:50 remaining in regulation.

The Huskies managed to tie the game at 36-36, 6:42 left in the second half powered by a 6-0 run.

Both teams exchanged leads until Mike Talley hit both free throws to put EMU ahead 46-45 with 26 seconds remaining.

Threloff responded on the other end with a layup to put NIU ahead by one with 17 seconds left.

Then, Riley was fouled on the next possession by Bowie and split two free throws to send the game into overtime at 47 even.

Overtime saw both teams going back and forth as Aaric Armstead split two free throws to tie the game at 55 with four seconds left and sent the game into a second extra session.

EMU began the final five-minute period on a 4-0 run to go up 59-55 with 3:14 left in the contest.

The Eagles would not score again as the Huskies went on an 6-0 run to clinch the victory that was capped by Threloff’s tip-in with 0.9 seconds left.

Game Notes:

The final game attendance was listed at 877.

Glenn Bryant III (1 minute) and Darell Combs (4 minutes) saw limited action against NIU.

“I didn’t feel (Glenn) was in tune to the game,” Bryant said. “This is late in the season, you have to step up and meet the challenge.”

“Darell Combs came out and wasn’t really aggressive,” Murphy said.

Looking Ahead:

On Feb. 23, EMU will conclude its two-game road trip against in-state rival Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo.

WMU, along with the University of Toledo sits on top of the MAC West at 10-3.

The Broncos are riding a six-game winning streak.

The key to the streak has been the play of Shayne Whittington.

Whittington has averaged 15.2 points and 8.2 rebounds over the last six contests.

The Eagles will look to complete the regular-season sweep of the Broncos as they won the first meeting on Jan. 14, 56-37.

Tip-off is scheduled for 2 p.m. and can be heard on WEMU 89.1 FM. Chad Bush and Sean Hostetter will have the call with pregame coverage beginning at 1:50 p.m.

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