Da’Shonte Riley had a game to forget against Western Michigan University.
After scoring seven points and grabbing 13 rebounds against NIU on Feb. 20, Riley went scoreless in 19 minutes before fouling out with 4:15 left in regulation.
“(Da’Shonte) got caught up in some bad positions,” Eastern Michigan University head coach Rob Murphy said. “He didn’t put his hands up when it mattered. As a result, Shane (Whittington) was able to impose his will on him.”
EMU dropped its second and final game on the road trip Sunday to WMU 75-67 at University Arena.
Darell Combs scored 17 of his 21 in the second half and shot 8-of-16 from the field.
“Darell did an unbelievable job of making shots to keep us in the game,” Murphy said.
Glenn Bryant scored 12, the most since putting up a season-high 26 against Bowling Green State University on Jan. 29.
For WMU (18-8, 11-3 MAC West), Shayne Whittington put together a double-double (22 points, 11 rebounds) despite playing with the flu.
“It was our point to be more aggressive and play more inside and out,” Whittington said. More importantly, the team needed me and I delivered.”
David Brown finished with 20 points on 11-of-15 from the foul line and 3 three-point makes.
EMU (15-12, 7-7 MAC) started the first three minutes of the game on an 8-2 run.
WMU would respond with a 6-0 run of its own to even the game at eight with 14:08 left in the first half.
J.R. Sims put Eastern back in front with a three-point make from the baseline.
Harrison’s jumper gave the Eagles a 13-11 advantage, but would not lead again in the final 11 minutes of the half. EMU would go into halftime trailing WMU 34-26.
The first four minutes of the second half saw the tempo increase as Western outscored Eastern 12-11. In that stretch, Bryant scored six points highlighted by a one-handed dunk.
After Whittington’s jumper to put Western ahead 48 37, EMU behind Combs went on a 15-4 run to tie the game at 52. Combs scored 13 of the 15 in the run.
EMU regained the lead at the eight-minute mark on Raven Lee’s three-pointer to make it 57-56.
On the next possession, Bryant delivered a thunderous dunk on Tucker Haymond which got the entire Eagles bench off their feet.
After Brown made both free throws to cut EMU’s lead to 59-58 with 7:45 left in regulation.
The Broncos went back ahead 60-59 on Whittington’s two free throws.
EMU would not lead for the rest of the game as WMU pulled away for the eight-point victory.
“We didn’t make enough plays to win the game,” Murphy said. “Combs turned the ball over with the game tied at 62 and then the flagrant foul made it harder for us to make a run.”
Whittington’s double-double is his tenth of the season.
Technical Fouls: Eastern- Lee. Western- Austin Richie.
Combs Intentional Foul at 4:25 in the second half.
Riley fouled out at 4:15 in the second half.
Bryant fouled out at :29 in the second half.
Ajayi fouled out at :01 in the second half.
On Feb. 26, EMU returns to the Convocation Center to take on the Central Michigan University Chippewas.
Central comes in at 10-16 overall and 3-11 in the MAC West. Braylon Rayson led the way with 19 points in CMU’s 70-57 win over Northern Illinois University Sunday.
In the teams’ first meeting on Jan. 18, EMU used 21 points from Talley to knock off CMU 72-59.
Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m.
Chad Bush and Sean Hostetter will have the call on WEMU 89.1 FM with a 6:50 p.m. pregame.
Follow Eugene Evans on Twitter @GenoSportsguy.