The Eastern Michigan University men’s basketball team secured its first victory of the season over the University of Vermont 70-50 on Friday, November 13, 2015 at the Convocation Center.
This season marks head coach Rob Murphy’s fifth year at the helm of this team. Murphy started off the season by putting three guards in his starting lineup. The Eagles also started the season off without star guard Raven Lee, who is currently suspended indefinitely.
The Eagles got off to a fast start, putting up a 15-8 lead in the first six minutes of the game. But unfortunately they started to become stagnant, allowing Vermont to go on a run of their own. Most of this was because their starting center James Thompson IV got into foul trouble. EMU’s inside offense competed with Vermont’s perimeter shooting for control of the scoreboard, which resulted in EMU trailing 30-27 leading into the half.
“Throughout the first 12 minutes, we played extremely well on both ends of the floor,” Murphy noted, “We got stagnant offensively because we made some substitutions, and Vermont went on a 17-2 run. I thought they did a great job of getting to the free throw line and making us pay from there.”
The second half belonged to the Eagles as Tim Bond and Willie Mangum made their presence known to the Convocation Center. Mangum, in his first Division One game, put up 13 points in the second half to finish with 18 points. He would also grab four steals, one rebound, and one assist.
“Willie came out and hit a shot or two but then he struggled,” said Murphy. "But in the second half when we couldn’t get anything going, he delivered some points for us.”
“I was just having fun out there,” Mangum said. “It was just fun to be out there playing with those guys.”
Sophomore Tim Bond, who led the Eagles in scoring going into the second half, would finish with 15 points. He would also get three steals, one block, and an assist while shooting 70 percent from the field. Senior Brandon Nazione would help set the tone for the season, earning a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds.
“Brandon is an excellent on the court leader,” says Tim Bond. “He’s always talking to us. If we miss something he just tells us to get the ball back.”
Center James Thompson IV would provide on the defensive end for the Eagles, grabbing eight defensive rebounds and blocking three shots. He would finish with nine points and 11 rebounds. Starting guard Ty Toney would get it done at the stripe, going eight for eight from the free throw line and dishing out four assists. Ethan Alvano would provide valuable minutes off the bench, scoring six points and one steal.
The Eagles will look to continue this great start when they travel to Rochester Hills, Mich. to play Oakland University on Wednesday Nov. 18 at 7 p.m.