After a tough game against the University of Dayton, the Eastern Michigan men’s basketball team’s undefeated winning streak came to an end Saturday with a final score of 73-64, as the Eagles drop their first game of the season in Dayton, Ohio.
The game began with Eastern and Dayton going trading buckets, ending the first half with Eastern trailing by two, 26-28. But in the second half, the Eagles began to flounder, growing Dayton’s lead to seven points in the third quarter.
“Defensively, I thought was a problem for us,” EMU coach Rob Murphy said. “We allowed the ball to get into our interior too much. They were able to get the ball in the post, drop down for lay-ups, and we committed some silly fouls.”
The Eagles experienced foul trouble in the second half in which two players fouled out and three others were called for four fouls throughout the half. Dayton went to the free-throw line 44 times throughout the game, making 26 of the shots, compared to Eastern’s 17 tries at the line, making 13 of them.
Another issue the Eagles faced was on their offensive end. With less than six minutes left in the game, Eastern came back and tied the game at 56; however, missed shots down the stretch cost the Eagles a chance to gain the lead and ultimately clipped their wings.
“We just had to get adjusted to our first road game,” EMU guard Raven Lee said. “Just being on the road for the first time was the most difficult [thing]. It’s tough to lose close games, but we’re just going to keep moving; we have a long season to go.”
Lee ended the game scoring a season high 26 points, but experience foul trouble which caused him to sit out at the end of the game. Karrington Ward (F) ended the game with 11 points, and Mike Talley ended the game with 10.
The Eagles 37.3 field goal percentage was outweighed by Dayton’s 45.7 field goal percentage. The eagles were 7 of 26 behind the three-point line, which caused big issues on their offensive end, mostly in the second half. Eastern only had six turnovers throughout the game and gained 12 points off Dayton’s 11 turnovers.
“I think we will learn from this as we continue to grow. We had our chances tonight, we just didn’t step up to make some plays,” Murphy said. “It’s a process. Anytime you’re trying to get better and keep your eye on the big picture, these type of environments will help us get better as we move forward.”
The Eagles have a lot of stepping up to do for the next road game in Ann Arbor, Michigan, playing against the nationally ranked University of Michigan Wolverines. The game will be Dec. 9, and tip-off begins at 9 p.m. at Michigan.