Mike Talley scored a career-high 24 points to lead the Eastern Michigan men’s basketball team to a 69-63 victory over in-state rival Western Michigan.
The win gives the Eagles (14-7, 3-5 MAC) their second straight victory after the 1-5 start to the conference schedule.
“I thought tonight was a huge win for us,” Coach Rob Murphy said, “We were able to protect our home floor against a good Western Michigan team.”
After starting the second half with the score tied at 31, WMU managed to take a 43-40 lead during the first nine minutes of the half thanks to a pair of three-pointers from Thomas Wilder and Tucker Haymond.
Talley was the one to answer for the Eagles, making a three-pointer of his own while being fouled by Wilder.
After a media timeout, Talley drained the free throw to complete the four-point play and in effect, turned the momentum of the game into EMU’s favor.
“Big Mike (Samuels) skipped the ball to me, so I just let it go with confidence,” Talley said of his game-changing shot, “That’s the big thing about my 24 points, I was just playing with confidence to help us win.”
As the clock ticked away with less than seven minutes remaining in the game, the Eagles were able to pull away from the Broncos thanks to guards Raven Lee and Tim Bond, giving great effort on both sides of the ball. Lee scored seven points while Bond helped with two points and two blocks in that time span to help seal the win.
“Ray Lee stepped it up in the second half and gave a scoring punch with Mike Talley,” Murphy said. “Then Tim Bond did his job coming off the bench and used 24 minutes for us and helped us on defense, and Brandon Nazione also got us going on offense in the first half. I liked how all of them came out playing today.”
Lee finished with 15 points to follow Talley’s 24, while Nazione contributed with 11 points.
The Eagles will ride their two-game win streak into Toledo on Wednesday to face the Rockets. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m.